I have a book that says we can use will and would for a habitual action. For example,

Everyday Jane will come home from school and ring up the friends she's just been talking to.

Does this sentence make sense? I used to refer that book when I have a problem but now I dont trust it because I've never seen people write that way. I think the only possible way to express a habitual action is,

Everyday Jane comes home from school and rings up the friends she's just been talking to.

If the "will" version is correct, then is there any difference from the "present simple" version?

  • It's sort of rare nowadays, but "will" was commonly used this way. What is the name of this "book"? You might also want to look at the year of its first publication. And please provide the exact explanation given by "the book" in a quote. It's +1 if you do! – Mari-Lou A Dec 15 '16 at 9:41

Both versions are grammatically correct.

It is possible (although in my experience relatively uncommon) to use "will" (or "would" for past tense) to indicate habit, but only with action (i.e. non-stative) verbs. This construction is probably more common in the past tense. When talking about the present, the form with the present simple seems more natural to me as a native speaker and is more concise, but the meaning is exactly the same either way. So you could say:

Every day after school Jimmy goes to the shop to buy sweets. OR Every day after school Jimmy will go to the shop to buy sweets.

or in the past tense:

Every day after school Jimmy went to the shop to buy sweets. OR Every day after school Jimmy would go to the shop to buy sweets.

However, in the following example with a stative verb, only the present simple/past simple are possible:

In high school I loved science. NOT In high school I would love science (ungrammatical)

Another way of expressing habit in the past tense is the construction "used to". I'm not going to convolute this answer by going into that more, but there's more information here and here.

  • So to conclude, they have no difference right? But, maybe there's any time using will is preferable? – user178049 Dec 15 '16 at 6:40
  • The meaning is the same, that's right. I wouldn't personally said there was a time when "will" is preferable to the present simple because to me it sounds a bit odd. However, one of the sites I linked to at the bottom says: "Will is used to emphasise the characteristics of a person rather than describing the person himself or herself, e.g. A friend will always help you. (This is one of the characteristics of a friend)" – D. Nelson Dec 15 '16 at 6:44
  • If I'm not mistaken, the habitual will was a borrowing from Latin syntax. – user32753 Dec 15 '16 at 6:49

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