Expression: "The dentist told me that I'll have to..."


Yesterday I read a sentence in Oxford Idioms which confused me a bit. Can we use I’ll with the past tense without speech marks?



Please shed some light on this.


Hi Tom,

Probably the purist in you wants to say: ‘I’d have to …’, which would follow the usual pattern. But by using ‘I’ll have to …’ the statement becomes more immediate and relates more closely back to what the dentist actually said. Does that help at all?


I am grateful, Alan

So am I to understand that past tense+ will is not a grammatical mistake at all? Can I use this form frequently? For example:

Of course I understand the said work is yet to be done i.e vacate and wait



Anyone there? :shock:


Hi Tom

If the action is still in the future, you’re likely to hear ‘will’ rather than ‘would’. However, I wouldn’t rule out the use of ‘would’ even if the activity is still in the future.

I can also easily imagine the words will and would being omitted completely:

  • She said I have/had to vacate the house.
  • The driver said she has/had to wait for a while.