Using "will" for persistent habit.

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M56

Banned
Britain. English.
In my variant of English, "will" (non-future use) is used to talk about a persistent habit or characterstic behaviour. Can you do that in your variant?

Examples:

He will bite his nails so.

If you will keep nagging him, it's no wonder he gets up and leaves.

She'll just sit there for hours staring into space.

The difference is, wild rats will kill and eat a mouse, starting with its liver first, a domesticated rat will kill a mouse and start eating it brain first.
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    In my variant of the same language, the first two examples sound a little odd, especially the second one. If I were to hear it, rather than read it, I would expect an British or Australian accent to adorn the words.

    The third and fourth sentences seem absolutely normal.

    I will always enjoy discovering and pondering this magical BE/AE "thingy".
     

    M56

    Banned
    Britain. English.
    cuchuflete said:
    I will always enjoy discovering and pondering this magical BE/AE "thingy".
    Yes, and the Indian English, NZEng, CanEng, AusEng, etc. thing.
    ;)

    Would this be odd in your variant?


    "He​
    will go out wearing only a T-shirt in cold weather."

     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    It wouldn't be odd, in that I would recognize and understand the intent, and I wouldn't feel awkward. Yet it would be much more common for me to hear and say, "He goes out/is in the habit of going out/often goes out/insists on going out......wearing only......"
     

    M56

    Banned
    Britain. English.
    cuchuflete said:
    It wouldn't be odd, in that I would recognize and understand the intent, and I wouldn't feel awkward. Yet it would be much more common for me to hear and say, "He goes out/is in the habit of going out/often goes out/insists on going out......wearing only......"
    OK, thanks. Interesting differences.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Yes. These are simply regional stylistic habits, I think. I don't find your version or any of those I offered "better" or less correct.
     

    M56

    Banned
    Britain. English.
    cuchuflete said:
    Yes. These are simply regional stylistic habits, I think. I don't find your version or any of those I offered "better" or less correct.
    Well, the use of "will" for habit or characteristic is as old as the hills in BrEng. I wonder how it got lost when it crossed the sea to your shores?
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    cuchuflete said:
    In my variant of the same language, the first two examples sound a little odd, especially the second one. If I were to hear it, rather than read it, I would expect an British or Australian accent to adorn the words.

    The third and fourth sentences seem absolutely normal.

    I will always enjoy discovering and pondering this magical BE/AE "thingy".
    I agree. 1 and 2 are off, 3 and 4 are alright.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    #1 would sound better to me with some more information:

    No matter how many times you tell him to stop, he'll just keep right on biting his nails.

    #2 would never work for me, because I can't imagine myself saying "if you will keep nagging him" to mean "if you continue to nag him." I would venture to say that I don't think this persistent-habit "will" works after "if."

    #3 and #4, as has already been mentioned, are flawless and idiomatic.
     

    M56

    Banned
    Britain. English.
    elroy said:
    #2 would never work for me, because I can't imagine myself saying "if you will keep nagging him" to mean "if you continue to nag him." I would venture to say that I don't think this persistent-habit "will" works after "if."
    How about:

    If you will insist on...
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    M56 said:
    How about:

    If you will insist on...
    Nope.

    I'd say "if you continue to insist on," "if you keep (on) insisting on," etc., but not "if you will insist on." At least not without changing the meaning.
     

    M56

    Banned
    Britain. English.
    elroy said:
    Nope.

    I'd say "if you continue to insist on," "if you keep (on) insisting on," etc., but not "if you will insist on." At least not without changing the meaning.
    In my variant, we can say all of those, but the version with "will" often better expresses the irritation of the speaker towards the listener.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    M56 said:
    In my variant of English, "will" (non-future use) is used to talk about a persistent habit or characterstic behaviour. Can you do that in your variant?

    Examples:

    He will bite his nails so.

    If you will keep nagging him, it's no wonder he gets up and leaves.

    She'll just sit there for hours staring into space.

    The difference is, wild rats will kill and eat a mouse, starting with its liver first, a domesticated rat will kill a mouse and start eating it brain first.
    All fine in AusEng.

    The will would be stressed in 1 and 2, and would indicate a "willful" continuing of the behaviour, despite being advised otherwise.
     

    M56

    Banned
    Britain. English.
    Brioche said:
    All fine in AusEng.

    The will would be stressed in 1 and 2, and would indicate a "willful" continuing of the behaviour, despite being advised otherwise.
    Good for Oz!
     
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