Want to bet who finishes first ?

Peter Thompson

Senior Member
Hi! I would like to ask a question.
I have seen a question: "Want to bet who finishes first ?"
I am confused here because the context is that the two people are talking at a race (the place in which the race is held) and they are race participants. Finishing first is clearly something that will happen in the future because the race hasn't started yet when the two people are talking.
Why is it not "Want to bet who will finish first ?" ?

Many thanks!
  • Peter Thompson

    Senior Member
    But since when can't we use the present simple to talk about the future? Another example: If John finishes first, I win. You just have to accept that we say such sentences all the time.
    I understand that it can but for what reason is the present simple used in the question Want to bet who finishes first ? ? That's my question.
    That question is not about a plan or a scheduled event but it uses the present simple.
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    You ask why a person used one phrase rather than another. Really, we can't tell! Who was that person, how old were they, where did they learn English, were they writing casually or formally, or just chatting...? All these factors will influence the choice of wording.

    Just accept that both forms are grammatically correct.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Present tense can refer to the future in the right context, as others have said.

    Because everyone in the conversation knows that the race hasn't happened yet, it can only refer to the future, so there is no ambiguity. You can only bet on a future event.