will - past reference

mick1977

Member
Poland Polish
What would be the meaning of will
If it rains tomorrow, we will have worked in vain yesterday.

Would it be 'certainty' as in
I assume you will have read the article.

The sentence was taken from the Wikipedia entry on Future Perfect.


 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    An unusual situation, so it's a bit hard to think about it. I think it's more likely a plain future: in the future, something will turn out to be true - tomorrow we will find out that what we did two days ago is useless. Today it's open, but tomorrow will decide.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Not really, at least in my opinion. The state of "working in vain" won't occur until it rains (if it does), so we won't know until tomorrow if we have worked in vain.

    For example:

    "If I choke on the exam tomorrow, all my studying will have been in vain."

    We're talking about a future event that could change our evaluation of something in the past, and we're talking about it at the point between the two. I think it's a pretty powerful language structure.
     
    Last edited:

    mick1977

    Member
    Poland Polish
    Not really, at least in my opinion. The state of "working in vain" won't occur until it rains (if it does), so we won't know until tomorrow if we have worked in vain.

    For example:

    "If I choke on the exam tomorrow, all my studying will have been in vain."

    We're talking about a future event that could change our evaluation of something in the past, and we're talking about it at the point between the two. I think it's a pretty powerful language structure.
    What about

    "If I choke on the exam tomorrow, all my studying will be in vain."

    Would the meaning be more or less the same?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    No, it would not. In that instance you are talking about studying in the present or the future. It is studying that has not yet happened. As I said before, "will have been" is a specific tense that has the ability to refer to something that happened in the past that could be changed by a future event.

    Another way this tense can be used s to indicate a state that will be true in the future because of past events. For example: "This September I will have been working for this company for ten years and I still haen't received a single raise."
     
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