If or when the rain

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Jignesh77

Senior Member
India- hindi
We will go to the park when the rain stops.
We will go to the park if the rain stops.
Do we always use the present simple with "if clauses"? Why can't we say "when or if the rain will stop"?
Do we need definite article before "rain"?
These are made up sentences.
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    'When' refers to certain fact - the rain will stop some time. 'If' refers to a possibility - we don't know if something will ever happen.
    So if the doctor says 'Take this medicine when you have pain', they would mean you definitely are going to experience pain. If they say 'This medicine is for if you have pain', they mean it isn't certain that you will, but there is a possibility.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    We use the present simple after 'when'. That's because that event happens in the present - when it happens it is the present.
    No, we don't always need to use 'the' with the word rain.
    These are separate questions that should have their own threads,
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    In some languages you use the future tense in both clauses in that type of conditional sentence, but in English we don't: you use the simple present in the if-clause and the sentence takes the future 'sense' from the verb in the main clause.

    You can actually say "We will go to the park if and when the rain stops" which conveys the idea of "if it stops (first), then we will go." :)
     

    anahiseri

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    You cannot use the future after if or when. Why? - no reason. In Spanish and German you can't either, but in French you can:
    "When the rain will stop falling".
    [Original French translated by moderator (DonnyB) for the English Only forum]

    Grammar is the way it is.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    anahiseri

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    In English you omit the article (the) when you are talking about something in general: Rain is necessary for the plants.
    But in the sentence we're dealing with, it's about a particular situation: the rain that is falling now while the people al talking.
     
    Last edited:

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    when = at the time at which (or: on any occasion on which) [something happens]
    if = in the event that [something should happen] (but on the understanding that it might not)

    We’ll go to the park when the rain stops [but not before].
    We’ll go to the park if the rain stops [but not if it doesn’t].
     

    Jignesh77

    Senior Member
    India- hindi
    I still don't get it. Do we always use the present simple with "if clauses" even though they refer to action or events in the future?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Using will in that type of sentence is a mistake in English. It seems to be a common mistake for learners, though.

    We will go to the park when the rain will stop. :thumbsdown:
    We will go to the park when the rain stops. :thumbsup:
     

    anahiseri

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    I still don't get it. Do we always use the present simple with "if clauses" even though they refer to action or events in the future?
    Yes, we do. I guess you don't in hindi, and as I posted before, it's not done in French either, but in the other few European languages I know a bit about, in these conditional or whatever sentences, if-sentences type 1, as they call them in English, it's present in the if-clause and future in the main clause.There's nothing to "get". Yes, the sentence is about a future time, but you don't use a future tense but a present tense.
     

    Jennifer Weiss

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I still don't get it. Do we always use the present simple with "if clauses" even though they refer to action or events in the future?
    It is really hard to paint with brush strokes this big in a language (I mean I don't like such words as "always", "never") but more or less you are right: with "when / if / unless and some other words I can't think of right now" do not use "will". There is a ton of materials on the topic all over Internet since - as it's been pointed out earlier - this mistake is quite common among learners. I suggest you read more about conditionals in English. English Grammar in Use by Murphy, for example, comprehensively covers the topic.
     
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