Is the use of "when" wrong in this example:

Example: 1. "When you are going to want to send this letter, you will need to include the address of the sender."

Is it wrong to use "when"for the future tense much as is the case with will?

example: 2."You will see me when I'll be playing football." is wrong

So is example one wrong too?

Thank you

  • There is nothing wrong with using 'when' with reference to the future, in either example. See english.stackexchange.com/questions/9599/… . But the inclusion of 'are going to' is clumsy and unnecessary. 'When you want to send it' implies that this will happen in the future. – Kate Bunting Jan 12 '17 at 9:08

When you are talking about the future, you use the present simple or the present perfect, not a future form, in the when-clause. So both the sentences should be as follows:

When you send this letter, you will need to include the address of the sender.

You'll see me when l play football.

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For the pattern

When [proposition], [result]

use present tense or present continuous tense in [proposition].

I'll try to explain, but not the jargon I use is not standard:

Propositions are statements of fact that can be true or false. These are a few examples of propositions:

  • you send this letter
  • you want to go home
  • you are old

A when-clause is equivalent to the satisfying moments in time that satisfy the proposition. You could rewrite the when-clause as,

The moment [proposition] is true

Here's a full example:

When I play football, you will see me

Let's assume I'm going to play at 5:30pm. The sentence is equivalent to

At 5:30pm, you will see me

because 5:30pm is the satisfying moment.

As you can see, the present tenses are the only tenses that make sense here. Let's see what happens if you try to use the future tense:

*When I will play football, you will see me (this sounds awkward).

The issue is, if I already have plans, the statement "I will play football" is true right now. Therefore the present moment is a satisfying moment, so we could rewrite this as

Right now, you will see me

And that's clearly not what you mean to convey. Essentially "When I will..." is an unused construction. If you did want something like this, you could write "When I plan to play football, I'll give you a call".

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