...if it ever will or if it ever can?

lapachis8

Senior Member
Mexico-Spanish
Hi,
In the sentence:

"If all goes well, they´ll tell us if Mars once had life and if it ever can again."

Is "can" correct, instead of will?
Thanks for your opinions
cheers
 
  • MrPedantic

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Hello Lap

    No doubt you could hear or read similar constructions, from native speakers; but it seems a little awkward to me. If we complete the ellipsis, for example, we get:

    1. ??"If all goes well, they´ll tell us if Mars once had life and if it ever can [had life] again."

    2. ??"If all goes well, they´ll tell us if Mars once had life and if it ever will [had life] again."

    — both of which are ungrammatical.

    This might be an innocuous alternative:

    3. "If all goes well, they´ll tell us if Mars ever had (or ever can have) life."

    MrP
     

    linguist786

    Senior Member
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    lapachis8 said:
    Hi,
    In the sentence:

    "If all goes well, they´ll tell us if Mars once had life and if it ever can again."

    Is "can" correct, instead of will?
    Thanks for your opinions
    cheers
    Well you could use both.

    If you want to get across that it is capable of having life on it again, then use "can".

    If you just want to say whether it will have life on it or not, use "will"
     

    lapachis8

    Senior Member
    Mexico-Spanish
    Cheers mate! I agree with you. Ì still have a little question:

    "If all goes well, they´ll tell us if Mars ever had life and if it will ever... (?)"
    can
    will
    i did not write this text, i´m just proofreading it as it will be part of a test and this particular sentence standed up a bit as being awkward.
    cheers
     

    linguist786

    Senior Member
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    lapachis8 said:
    Cheers mate! I agree with you. Ì still have a little question:

    "
    will
    i did not write this text, i´m just proofreading it as it will be part of a test and this particular sentence standed up a bit as being awkward.
    cheers
    The word order seems to be a bit stilted there. I'd say:

    "If all goes well, they'll tell us if Mars ever had life on it and if it ever will (or can) have life"

    (can or will, depending on what you'd like to "get across" - like I said in my first post)
     
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