... will (do) - leaving words out after auxiliaries

Li'l Bull

Senior Member
Spanish (Spain)
Hello, everyone.

I believe I'm right in saying that "will" can be used to omit "earn" in the following sentence:

Our generation earned more money than our children will.

My question is: Can you add "do" after "will"? i.e. "... than our children will do."

Thank you in advance.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Yes, you can. "Do", among its other functions, is a pro-verb - the verbal equivalent of a pronoun.
     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    Yes, you can. "Do", among its other functions, is a pro-verb - the verbal equivalent of a pronoun.
    Thank you, Paul. Does it apply to expressions like "need to" "want to" or "used to" as well? For instance:

    - We spend more money than we need to do.
    - I have more worries than I want to do. - By the way, this one sounds particularly off to me.
    - I have more worries than I used to do.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    - We spend more money than we need to do.
    - I have more worries than I want to do. - There would not normally be a "to" at the end of this sentence: - "I have more worries than I want." Or - "I have more worries than I want to have."
    - I have more worries than I used to do. - You may hear this but to me, it sounds a little awkward - have would be better than "do"

    The last two are wrong. I blame myself - "Do", "get" "have", etc, when used as pro-verbs, behave more like personal pronouns, i.e. In the same way that one personal pronoun will not replace every noun.

    Do will usually replace verbs of action - You will see that have is a verb of state - to possess, and also as a tense marker. Get tends to replace verbs of change or motion.

    (I think there might be a doctorate in this... :D)

     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    Thanks again, Paul :). This is definitely a tough grammar point, but your post #5 has thrown some light, especially the point about verbs of action vs verbs of state.
     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    Oh, and thank you too, Glenfarclas - it's good to know that it doesn't work in AmE.
     
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