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  1. #1
    Little man is offline Junior Member
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    Usage "if" in the same clause with "will".

    Dear teachers, I need your help. Michael Swan in "Practical English Usage" gave thorough explanation on usage "will" in the same clause with "if". It is interesting and rather difficult question for me. There is a issue I want to discuss with you. I am going to write some sentences and then my understanding of each of them.

    If Ann won't be here on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.
    This sentence means that we know Ann defenetly won't be at the meeting.
    If Ann isn'there on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.
    Here we have less defenite statement. Ann may come but possibility of it not so high.
    If Ann shouldn't be here on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.
    Possibility of that is low. Ann most likely will be at the meeting.

    So, my conclusion is that "will" with "if" in this context emphasises certainty in subordinate clause. We know something and then make some move.
    I hope you clarify this issue for me.

    Kind regards

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: Usage "if" in the same clause with "will".

    Quote Originally Posted by Little man View Post
    Dear teachers, I need your help. Michael Swan, in "Practical English Usage"​, gave gives a thorough explanation on of the usage of "will" in the same clause with as "if".
    It is an interesting and rather difficult question area/subject/topic for me. There is an issue I want to discuss with you. I am going to write some sentences and then give my understanding of each of them.

    If Ann won't be here on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.
    This sentence means that we know Ann defenetly definitely won't be at the meeting.
    It sounds like the kind of thing that would be said just after Ann announces/emails "I won't be here on Thursday".

    If Ann isn't here on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.
    Here we have a less defenite definite statement. Ann may come but the possibility of it is not so high.
    For me, his is just another way of saying the first sentence. The beginning could also be used to come up with a contingency plan which will be put into effect on Thursday, once Ann either arrives or doesn't arrive. "Let's wait and see what happens. If Ann isn't here on Thursday, we'll have to cancel the meeting".

    If Ann shouldn't be here on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.
    The possibility of that is low. Ann most likely will be at the meeting.
    It's such an unlikely usage that I'm not sure I can put a definition on it. If it read "Should Ann not be here on Thursday", it would just be another way of expressing the first sentence.

    So, my conclusion is that "will" with "if" in this context emphasises certainty in a subordinate clause. We know something and then make some move.
    I don't understand the underlined part.

    I hope you can clarify this issue for me.

    Kind regards Unnecessary.
    See above.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. #3
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: Usage "if" in the same clause with "will".

    You should number your examples to make responses more clear. I have done it for you this time.

    The problem with analyzing your examples is that we don't know when the meeting is supposed to take place.

    1. If Ann won't be here on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.
    This sentence means that we know Ann
    definitely won't be at the meeting. No. The if always leaves some doubt. We are simply making a Plan B in case we hear at some future time- but before the time the meeting is scheduled- that she will not come. It sounds as if the meeting is set for Thursday. If we know in advance she will not arrive in time, we should cancel the meeting. If we know in advance that she will arrive in time, then we can go ahead with the meeting.

    2. If Ann isn't here on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.
    Here we have less
    definite statement. Ann may come but possibility of it not so high. Again, the problem with analyzing this is that we don't know when the meeting is supposed to take place. Let's guess the meeting is set for Friday, and we expect Ann to arrive on Thursday so we have time to cancel and let other attendees plan their schedules accordingly. If Ann does arrive on Thursday, we are 'go' for the meeting. If she does not arrive on Thursday, we should cancel the meeting.

    3. If Ann shouldn't be here on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.
    Possibility of that is low. Ann most likely will be at the meeting.
    This is more or less the same as #2, though it's not natural. It sounds as if there might be some reason that it would be a bad idea for Ann to be here on Thursday.

  4. #4
    Roman55's Avatar
    Roman55 is offline Key Member
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    Re: Usage "if" in the same clause with "will".

    Where is the will in these sentences? The closest you come to using will is won't in the first sentence.

    The only one I could ever imagine myself saying is, 'If Ann isn't there on Thursday, we'd better cancel the meeting.'
    I am not a teacher

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: Usage "if" in the same clause with "will".

    I would use Roman's version if I were suggesting that we cancel the meeting now, in advance of Thursday's meeting.
    I would use "If Ann isn't there on Thursday, we'll [have to] cancel the meeting", if I were suggesting that we wait until Thursday to cancel the meeting, only cancelling it once we have established that Ann is not there.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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