Is this correct... "Every time I will listen to this song, I will remember you." It's just that using will twice sounds awkward to me.

  • 4
    Drop the first will.
    – Max
    Nov 7, 2013 at 14:07

5 Answers 5


"Every time I will listen to this song, I will remember you."

This is grammatical, and possible, though not as common as

"Every time I listen to this song, I'll remember you."

An easier example to use to explain the difference would be,

"If you go, I'll go, too."
"If you'll go, I'll go, too."

Note that I've contracted will, since we usually only pronounce 'will' when emphasizing our intent (often in an argumentative tone).

The first case, "If you go, I'll go, too." is more commonly what we would say, since it means simply that if the first condition is met (you go), then the second condition will also be met (I will go).

In the second case, "If you'll go, I'll go, too." it sounds like for some reason neither of us really want to go, but if you are willing to go, then I will be willing to go, too.


I agree with other answers given that the first will should be dropped (indeed, it must be dropped to be grammatical, although I can't explain exactly why).

The second will may be required or prohibited depending on the circumstance, though... if this is the initiation of a habit, then it is necessary. That is, you are establishing that "from this time forward, whenever I hear this song, I will remember you". This is basically a promise of a future event, and therefore the future tense will remember is needed.

If, however, this is a description of an existing habit, then the latter will should be dropped. That is, you are stating that "I have listened to this song in the past and it always caused me to remember you, and it will continue to do so in the future as well." Because it is an already-established habit that has happened in the past and present, you do not need to move it into the future tense.

  • I agree that it doesn't "sound right" with the first "will" ... but I'm hard pressed to cite a rule to say why. The listening is in the future. Maybe the "every time" makes it more of a present continuous? I'd be interested if anyone can chime in to explain why what Hellion says and what my gut feel says is right, is indeed right.
    – Jay
    Nov 7, 2013 at 15:53
  • 1
    I don't 100% agree with the assertion that "will" in such constructions only applies to future actions. For example, I'm quite happy to understand Whenever I receive a call for help, I will honor the request as meaning that's what I've done in the past, and what I will continue to do in the future. I've certainly got no problem with Fumblefingers will always disagree being used to mean Fumblefingers habitually disagrees. Nov 7, 2013 at 17:50
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers I like to think of the will in these fundamentally conditional constructions as being as much consequential as they are subsequential. I'd say that context determines whether the will expresses currently habitual behavior or a promise of future behavior. Nov 8, 2013 at 1:20
  • @StoneyB: Indeed. We had an interesting question over on ELU about one of the more obscure uses of "would", but unless I'm much mistaken you haven't supplied us with a definitive answer here on ELL covering the basics of common would/[zero]/will usage as it relates to the needs of learners. As ever, though, context is all. Nov 8, 2013 at 2:35

This sentence, although this it does not have a clause headed by if, is really a ‘realis’ conditional: every time acts like if, and the clause it heads expresses a condition which you regard as possible. When and whenever can act like if, too—and in this sentence every time is equivalent to whenever.

And you probably know already that in a conditional construction with future reference, the verb in the condition (if) clause is cast in the present-tense form, and only the consequence (then) clause may employ an explicit future reference.

        If I listen to this song I will remember you.  
  Whenever I listen to this song I will remember you.  
Every time I listen to this song I will remember you.  

Although the superfluous "will" sounds unnecessary, this doesn't seem like a case of bad grammar, but a matter of euphony.

A clause can give a quantifier like "every time" or "whenever", and use future tense.

Oh don't pay attention to his weird response. He will do that every time.

I promise I will write everyday.

Also, if the tense is past, note both clauses must be in the past tense:

Every time I listened to the song, I remembered you.

Here, if either verb is changed to present tense, without the other, it is ungrammatical.

So it is a rather a "special case" that we can have:

Every time I listen to the song, I will remember you.

whereby the first clause is expressed in the grammatical present tense, but inherits the future tense semantics from the "will* in the second. This "propagation of tense" is not a general rule; it seems to apply to clauses dependent on a main future tense clause.

If you stare at these two sentences long enough, you may find yourself changing your mind! The first one will start to look awkward, while the second starts to look normal:

Every time I listen to the song, I will remember you.

Every time I will listen to the song, I will remember you.

The more I re-read the first one, the more I want to insert "From now on, " at the beginning to soften the change in tense, which seems more and more abrupt. (The rearrangement "I will remember you every time I listen to the song" continues to look fine, though: the inheritance of tense goes left to right, following the direction of speech. In the original order, I feel that I have to hold a present tense clause in my mind and then "back edit" its tense to the future upon receiving the future tense clause.)

At the same time, I'm able to "train" myself to accept the second without a whole lot of difficulty. If the usage were a common dialect somewhere, I'd probably pick it up over a weekend trip to the place.


A sentence can be constructed like that in light sarcasm because of the obvious opposite expectations of both parties. The speaker expects the listener is completely aware of their intentional use of that kind of 'weird' but random emphasis. For example: Every time I should listen to this song, I should remember you. That is totally grammatical too. It can also be used to demonstrate the emotional relationship between the writer and the reader.

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