If they <will> attack us, then...

jasonlu2000

Senior Member
Chinese
Does the following sentence make sense?

A: We are planning to build another fortress on the hill and buy a new fleet of battleships.

B: The information shows that the enemy is planning to impose a sanction on us instead of launching a large-scale invasion.
If they will attack us by interrupting the trade, then all of these military preparations will be useless.
 
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  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    If 'will' is there to indicate the future, then it's wrong. The present simple in the if-clause already expresses the future.
     

    jasonlu2000

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If 'will' is there to indicate the future, then it's wrong. The present simple in the if-clause already expresses the future.
    Can't it mean that "All of these preparations will be useless when we know they will attack us economically"?
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yeah let me edit it. Maybe it it will make more sense
    Posters here are generally discouraged from making serious edits to their questions once they've been replied to.

    So what is it that you want to achieve by including "will" in the if-clause? :)
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    OK, they mention some exceptions to the rule, one of which is:
    One exception is when the action in the if- or when-clause takes place after that in the main clause.
    This doesn't work in your example, where they interrupt the trade, rendering your preparations useless as a consequence.
     

    jasonlu2000

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    OK, they mention some exceptions to the rule, one of which is:

    This doesn't work in your example, where they interrupt the trade, rendering your preparations useless as a consequence.
    Yeah I know what you mean:

    If they attack us by interrupting the trade, all of these military preparations will be useless
    =Our military preparations will become useless on the condition of the enemy interrupting our trade.

    However, I think the other sentence can be interpreted as below:

    If they will attack us by interrupting the trade, all of these military preparations will be useless.
    = All of these preparations will be useless on the condition that they are going to interrupt the trade. Their uselessness will be shown before the actual interruption of trade takes place
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Does the following sentence make sense?

    A: We are planning to build another fortress on the hill and buy a new fleet of battleships.

    B: The information shows that the enemy is planning to impose a sanction on us instead of launching a large-scale invasion.
    If they will attack us by interrupting the trade, then all of these military preparations will be useless.
    To make your meaning (which you explain only later) clear, you can rewrite it as:

    If the way they attack us is by interrupting trade, then all of these military preparations will be useless.​
    Will is only needed in the main clause to denote a future reference.
     

    jasonlu2000

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    S
    To make your meaning (which you explain only later) clear, you can rewrite it as:

    If the way they attack us is by interrupting trade, then all of these military preparations will be useless.​
    Will is only needed in the main clause to denote a future reference.
    So will is not allowed in the if-clause here?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s actually not impossible in your particular sentence (where it could imply if it turns out that that’s the manner in which they attack). But it’s not normal to add will simply to refer in advance to a future event, i.e. if/when something happens in the future.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Will would be odd, but "going to" would be fine. "Going to" can convey the sense of planned/intended action.

    If they are going to attack us by interrupting trade, then all of these military preparations will be useless.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    S

    So will is not allowed in the if-clause here?
    All modal verbs have peculiarities. If you put "will" in an if-clause, it sounds as if there is "willingness" involved:

    If they will attack us by interrupting trade = If they are willing to attack us by interrupting trade

    Is that what you mean to say? If not, if what you want is simply a reference to the future, don't use "will:"

    If they attack us by interrupting trade.
     

    jasonlu2000

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    All modal verbs have peculiarities. If you put "will" in an if-clause, it sounds as if there is "willingness" involved:

    If they will attack us by interrupting trade = If they are willing to attack us by interrupting trade

    Is that what you mean to say? If not, if what you want is simply a reference to the future, don't use "will:"

    If they attack us by interrupting trade.

    I know the differences here. But it’s not about willingness. I would like to use it as in

    “If these components will be examined by the customs, I will change the labels”

    Verb in the if clause will happen after the verb in the main clause. I already think they might be examined by the customs, so I will change the labels before they are examined by the customs.

    Another example will be: If the government will confiscate my house one day, I will find a new pace before that happens.


    “If these components are examined by the customs, I will change the labels”
    sounds like the label will be changed after they are examined by the customs.
     
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    jasonlu2000

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    It’s actually not impossible in your particular sentence (where it could imply if it turns out that that’s the manner in which they attack). But it’s not normal to add will simply to refer in advance to a future event, i.e. if/when something happens in the future.
    Thank you for replying @lingobingo

    If "will" can be used in my original sentence, does it have the same meaning as in the following sentence I found on the visa application website of China and New Zealand?

    "However, if you will stay in China for more than six months, you will have to apply for a residence permit. (3)International students who apply ..."

    "If you will stay in New Zealand for less than 12 months, you normally do not need to have a medical examination unless the visa you apply for will allow you ..."
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In none of your new examples in posts #15 and #16 would will normally be used in the if-clause. You only need it in the main clause.

    But as velisarius says in #13, you could use “to be going to” instead (to add the nuance of intention or willingness).

    For example:
    if you will stay in China for more than six months, you will have to apply for a residence permit. :thumbsdown::thumbsdown:
    if you’ll be staying in China for more than six months, you’ll have to apply for a residence permit. :thumbsup:
    if you’re going to be staying in China for more than six months, you’ll have to apply for a residence permit. :thumbsup:
    :thumbsup:
     
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