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If I am able to do something in the future should I use "I am able to do it in the future" or "I will be able to do it in the future"? Is there a difference?

  • Yes, you should use both. They are functionally equivalent. – Robusto Nov 3 '16 at 23:47
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As you probably already know, there is a difference between saying I am able to do something, and I will be able to do something. The first says I can do it now, while the second says I can do it some time in the future.

However, we have to re-evaluate this when you add an adverb of time that is already in the future. If I say I am able to do something in the future, it's not clear whether I can or can't do it now. The default assumption is I can't do it now, otherwise I would just say that I can do it. For example:

When can you mow the lawn?

I can do it. (I can do it now)

I am able to do it this afternoon. (I can't -- or I don't want to -- do it now)

I will be able to do it this afternoon. (I can't do it now. Or I don't want to)

The practical result is that these two forms have the same meaning, even if they approach it in different ways.

Can we go see a movie sometime soon?

I am able to go tonight / I will be able to go tonight.

Either way, same meaning. Native speakers use these forms interchangeably.

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