will -- after "if"

Negina

Senior Member
Hi everyone! I was taught that we do not use will after 'if' except for those cases when 'if' introduces an indirect question. But still I come across conditionals where future simple tense is used after 'if' E.g:
But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first. (The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry)
So why is that? What's the rule? Thanks in advance!
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Welcome, Negina. :)

    If
    is the usual way to introduce the protasis of a condition. I wonder whether about the rule you were taught. Could you have misunderstood it?

    If can also introduce an indirect question.
     

    Negina

    Senior Member
    Welcome, Negina. :)

    If
    is the usual way to introduce the protasis of a condition. I wonder whether about the rule you were taught. Could you have misunderstood it?

    If can also introduce an indirect question.
    Thanks for your reply, Cagey!
    The question is not about 'if' per se but future simple tense used after 'if' in conditional clauses.
    In Conditional Type 1 we use present simple after 'if'.
    In Conditional Type 2 - past simple.
    In Conditional Type 3 - past perfect.
    And we almost never use future simple after 'if' in conditional clauses. I'm curious about the 'almost' part.
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo, Neg.

    I may be wrong of course, but I believe that the "will" in "... if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first" does not convey the idea of futurity but rather that of "willingness" on the part of the interlocutor. Which can also be interpreted as an invitation to do the action represented by the verb (ie "unwrap").

    All the best.

    GS
     

    Negina

    Senior Member
    Hullo, Neg.

    I may be wrong of course, but I believe that the "will" in "... if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first" does not convey the idea of futurity but rather that of "willingness" on the part of the interlocutor. Which can also be interpreted as an invitation to do the action represented by the verb (ie "unwrap").

    All the best.

    GS
    Thanks! I think that's how I now explain the meaning of 'will' after 'if' to myself: invitation to action.
     
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