If I will be late, I will call you.

zpoludnia swiata

Senior Member
chile english, spanish, german
This is a very interesting post that proves how fluid a language can be. For me the only acceptable version is "if I am late, I will call you." Neither "will" nor "going to" can be used in if clauses. It may be because I've been an English teacher for years, and this has affected my English in making it (overly) standardized. However, putting overt future expression into if clauses is considered "wrong", with students even being scored lower on international tests for doing so.
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Correct me if I am wrong:
    If I was* late, I would call you. even though the sentence is grammatically plausible as a conditional sentence it is useless in practical usage. [...]

    It's not meaningless at all, Tom. It means on those occasions when I was late, I was in the habit of calling you.

    This was the meaning I had hoped we were agreed about. The one I can't hear is the one hypothesizing about the future, to use your expression.

    My point about impossible conditions concerned the proposed sentence If I were late I would call you. This strange sentence seems to be saying in the impossible circumstances that I should be late, I would call you, and I can't put any meaning on that - certainly not if I'm late, I will call you.

    P.S. It's just struck me that we could, of course, and do say things like If I were you, I would call him, but that seems to concern the present as much as the future. The logical link between my being you and calling him is flimsy, while the suggestion in the case we've been discussing is that the call is caused by the fact of my being late.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    It's not meaningless at all, Tom. It means on those occasions when I was late, I was in the habit of calling you.

    This was the meaning I had hoped we were agreed about. The one I can't hear is the one hypothesizing about the future, to use your expression.
    Exactly, this meaning as clean as whistle. I didn't bring it up in my last post.
    My point about impossible conditions concerned the proposed sentence If I were late I would call you. This strange sentence seems to be saying in the impossible circumstances that I should be late, I would call you, and I can't put any meaning on that - certainly not if I'm late, I will call you.
    I think we are talking about the same thing, this is exactly what I mean in my previous post. I wrote about this very implication of If I were late I would call you.--the sentence even though grammatical, doesn't make much sense if at all (as a conditional sentence) and I failed to see that when I read this thread first. If I was late I would call you in my opinion isn't a conditional sentence the if here is different from the if in If I were...
    P.S. It's just struck me that we could, of course, and do say things like If I were you, I would call him, but that seems to concern the present as much as the future. The logical link between my being you and calling him is flimsy, while the suggestion in the case we've been discussing is that the call is caused by the fact of my being late.
    Thanks for the comments, Thomas. I think it is clear now (at least it is to me--don't hesitate to point out any inconsistency that may have appeared in this post :)).

    Tom
     
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