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You will find some food so that you won't need to go out when you arrive
or
You will find some food so that you don't need to go out when you arrive.

Which one is the best? I think first one is better.

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5 Answers 5

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Neither is good to my ear.

You will find some food so that you won't/don't need to go out when you arrive.

"So that" is used to indicate a purpose or to give explanation. Neither of these definitions are applicable here. Instead of "so that" you need to use "so" which shows the result (therefore).

  • You will find some food so you won't/don't need to go out when you arrive.

In this case "won't" will be better since we are talking about a future time "when you arrive". "don't" will be better about a general statement or a statement applicable in the present:

  • I payed the bill morning so you don't need to worry about it.

With "so that" you need a purpose (outcome and reason):

  • He locked us inside so that we wouldn't go to the party.
  • I will hide the sweets so that you don't overeat them.

P.s. You might try "You will find that I've stuffed plenty of food in the fridge so you won't need to go out to buy it when you arrive."

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Both are acceptable depending on the meaning.

With won't (will not), the meaning is that you will not need to go out to get some food, because there is already food.

With don't (do not), the meaning is that you do not need to go out at all, for food or any other reason, because there is food.

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I think the first sentence is correct, since you used "will" in the first part of the sentence it would be more appropriate to use will in the second part

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  • Please elaborate your answer. That will give the OP a little more clarity on why you think so.
    – Varun Nair
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 11:19
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I think it is better grammar to use future + future, rather than future + present. You may use future + present in some situations for some specific meaning, but the broad rule is future + future.

However, I would drop that without blinking - it sounds strange. Use so instead of so that in this case.

Extra: so / so that do(es) not require anything. It is the verb in the main sentence which requires something.

See same example, past tense:

We found some food so we didn't need to go out when we arrived

More: will is future, when you arrive is present, but suggests future, therefore it is natural to use future for the middle verb too.

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When the time of a subordinate clause is the same as of the main clause, the verb form in the subordinate clause is usually simplified. So Michal Swan says in his Practical English Usage (§580.1).

In the OP's example, however, the subordinate clause is talking about further into future than the main clause, so it's easier to digest when it says won't.

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