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  1. #1
    Sheila Wilson is offline Newbie
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    Default "even if" + will/won't

    It seems to me to be perfectly correct to say "even if it won't work, try it anyway" and similar sentences. Am I wrong? As an experienced ESL trainer, I thought I knew all about conditionals, but this has me stumped .

    I can't find any justification for this as an exception to the rule I teach my students: don't use "will" in the "if" clause of a conditional. I've scoured the internet and referred to Practical English Usage and Longman English Grammar, but this specific point just doesn't seem to be addressed anywhere.

    Please help me save face in front of my very critical adult learners.

  2. #2
    Mannysteps is offline Member
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    Default Re: "even if" + will/won't

    Not a teacher but the contruction "if + subject +won't is widely used, as in "if you won't, you won't" in the refrain of a song my neighbour is always playing. I have also seen it used by the press as in the links you'll get if you just google "If you won't" There's also the following use: "He wasn't a very honest person, a liar if you will". "We will, if you will" is also commonly used.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: "even if" + will/won't

    It's OK for me. We can use will in the if clause for various reasons, like negotiation and persuading people. Here it has a meaning similar to even though you know it won't work.

  4. #4
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "even if" + will/won't

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheila Wilson View Post
    I can't find any justification for this as an exception to the rule I teach my students: don't use "will" in the "if" clause of a conditional.
    This 'rule' is one of the great false rules of English teaching. When 'will' suggests volition, determination, customary habit, or various other things, it is perfectly OK to use it in the if clause.

  5. #5
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: "even if" + will/won't

    The 'rule' is to stop the very common mistake of:
    * "If you will jump off the roof, you'll break your legs!"
    * "If you will put three sugars in, it will be too sweet."

    The mistake is using will the first clause where it only belongs in the second.
    ESL teacher: "We don't use 'will' in the first clause of an 'if' clause! I've told you that a thousand times!"
    Unfortunately the student has seen "If ... will" and ESL teacher has never given the full rule once.

    PS: What is the rule to stop this?

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