see what <happens> <will happen>

homotopy07

Senior Member
Japanese
You might want to sit tight a few months and see what happens to the stock market.
[Longman Advanced American Dictionary]

Question: Is it possible to replace happens with "will happen"?

I don't know why the present verb happens is possible in the sentence.
 
  • duhveer

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    It's just a perspective on the situation. They're equivalent in most cases. Happens might be at a closer time, and will happen at a farther time.

    Happens implies an ongoing story (maybe in a TV show-- "WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!?"-- it's already known, but not to the viewer)
    Will happen refers possibly more to the real, unknown future-- What will happen next?

    All in all, most of the time they're exactly equivalent.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I don't understand. The dictionary example sounds to me like the speaker's suggestion/recommendation.
    The entire sentence is a recommendation. "Happens" doesn't make it a suggestion.
    I don't know why the present verb happens is possible in the sentence.
    from English Grammar Today. The present simple is used to refer to events in the future which are certain because they are facts, or because there is a clear or fixed schedule or timetable: Her birthday falls on a Friday next year. ( a known fact about the future) She has her driving test next week, does she? (​

    Future: present simple to talk about the future ( I work tomorrow )​

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org › british-grammar › fu...​
     

    abluter

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, if we say "Let's just see what happens", that "what" is not certain, otherwise we wouldn't have to wait and see.
     

    homotopy07

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Yes, if we say "Let's just see what happens", that "what" is not certain, otherwise we wouldn't have to wait and see.
    Do the following sentences sound natural to you?

    You'll find that you want to visit the game to see what will happen each day.

    Now we need to see what will happen to the empty Bennigan's site in Batavia.

    It looks like a good objective for ones, but we will see what will happen.

    Improve Your Writing skills
     
    Last edited:

    homotopy07

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    See especially the Be careful! bit at the end.
    I do not think that what happens is a time clause or an if-clause. My question is about tense simplification in subordinate clauses.

    580 tense simplification in subordinate clauses
    1 reasons for tense simplification
    If the main verb of a sentence makes it clear what kind of time the speaker is
    talking about, it is not always necessary for the same time to be indicated again
    in subordinate clauses. Compare:
    - This discovery means that we will spend less on food.

    - This discovery will mean that we spend less on food.
    - It is unlikely that he will win.

    - I will pray that he wins.
    [Swan: Practical English Usage, 3rd edition]


    I suppose that this explains why the present verb happens is used in the dictionary example in post #1, but, as you can see above, all Swan's examples use "will", and hence this thread.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I’m not sure what the comments in #9 are intended to prove or suggest, but those Swan examples are exactly the kind of thing I’ve pointed out myself in this forum on numerous occasions – namely, that in most cases you only need to set the time frame once in a sentence (and often you have a choice of which clause you do that in, e.g. means that we will = will mean that we do).

    And it may be interesting to note, too, that those “Be careful” examples illustrate something similar, that you often have a choice of which part of a sentence to negate to say much the same thing:

    I will come home when I finish work.
    = I won’t come home until I finish work.
    We won’t be able to go out if it rains.
    = We will be able to go out if it doesn’t rain.
     

    homotopy07

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    If you are relying on the blue text examples and accept

    you will see the parallel to
    The reason that I started this thread is that the dictionary example in #1 uses "might want to" rather than "will".

    (You might want to sit tight a few months and see what happens to the stock market.)

    Which of the following two sentences is correct?

    (1) Let's wait and see what will happen.

    (2) Let's wait and see what happens.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The reason that I started this thread is that the dictionary example in #1 uses "might want to" rather than "will".

    (You might want to sit tight a few months and see what happens to the stock market.)
    Why didn’t you even mention that? (Not that it has any bearing on what you did ask about.)

    You might like to” is just an idiomatic way of making a gentle suggestion. It means “I suggest that you [do something]”.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The reason that I started this thread is that the dictionary example in #1 uses "might want to" rather than "will".
    I don't think it makes any difference, homotopy07.

    What you have in the post 1 quote is a situation where, to use Swan's words, the main verb of a sentence makes it clear what kind of time the speaker is talking about.

    The same is true of your newest example, Let's wait and see what happens/will happen. It's crystal clear that the second part of the sentence is talking about future time, so you can use the present tense.

    I'd be much more likely, myself, to use the present tense in both
    You might want to sit tight a few months and see what happens
    and
    Let's wait and see what happens.
     

    abluter

    Senior Member
    British English
    With reference to lingobingo's post 13, "You might want to" is certainly used as a gentle suggestion, but also as rather more than that, indicating that dire, or at least inconvenient, consequences will follow if you don't do whetever, as in "You might want to unplug the electric fan before you dismantle it" - in other words, "you ought to".
     
    Top