"will" in conditional type 1


My friend from New-Zealand told me that these usages of “will after “if”” are natural to him:

He said that “will” emphasizes the idea.
Do you find this pattern natural sounding in your neck of the woods?

Thanks ! :slight_smile:

Yes, and it’s as old as the hills.

If you will bite your nails, please do it out of my sight!
If you will eat curry, you will get a bad stomach.

He will insist on coming round all the time.

Hi Alex

The use of ‘will’ that your friend was referring to is a usage that stresses your ‘willingness’ to do something (as opposed to something else). For example:

If you will just let me get a word in edgewise, I will explain it to you!

In other words ‘you are not allowing me to talk, but if you stop talking and allow me to talk, I will be able to explain it to you.’


(By the way, I believe the Brits would use ‘get a word in edgeways’ in the sentence above – but I’m not positive.)

It normally expresses obstinate insistence, which is usually habitual.

With Amy’s, indirect form/“polite”, offering, the obstinate insistence would be seen in the direct form:


If you will prevent me getting a word in edgewise, I will not be able to explain it to you!

My example did not necessarily refer to habitual action (and neither did Alex’s). Both refer to something the other person seems to be unwilling to do at the moment.

“Usually” means not always, doesn’t it?

Alex’s sentence did not fit your “usually” pattern. :wink:

I chose to address Alex’s question more specifically.

Hi, Amy

Thanks a million :slight_smile:

You may be positive about that - I have a book with Brit idioms, and “to get a word in edgeways” is listed there among many other idioms.
By the way, the book contains this idiom “to go pear-shaped”, which, according to the book, means “to go wrong”. Today, in my English class, I asked the teacher (an American), if that idiom rings a bell to her, and she said he’d never heard of it.
It’s funny how British and American idiomatic expressions vary.

Call mine a bonus.

In BrE:

  1. If you will spend all your time online, then no wonder you’re fat.
    — implies persistence on the addressee’s part; disapproval on the speaker’s.

  2. If you will just sign here, sir, I’ll get your key.
    — implies deference on the speaker’s part; willingness on the addressee’s.

  3. go pear-shaped
    — Yes, quite common in BrE. When planned things go wrong, they go pear-shaped.

  4. get a word in edgeways
    — Yes, again quite common in BrE: usually in the negative (“I couldn’t get a word in edgeways”). It implies mildly humorous exasperation on the part of the person who couldn’t get the word in.


Is that often heard in the strong form “you will”?