What sounds more natural , especially what kind of usage of verbs :

" I will come to you if I don't be held up at work" or " I will come to you if I am not held up at work"


  • BE always acts like an auxiliary verb, even when it is the main verb in a clause, so it does not take do support: "...if I am not held up..." – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 28 '17 at 13:54
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    "I will come to you if I am not held up at work" This sounds way more natural – MCE__ Sep 28 '17 at 21:26
  • Don't be too certain, @StoneyB. "Always" is a strong word. I'm pretty sure we can find a counter-example. – Gary Botnovcan Sep 28 '17 at 22:45
  • @GaryBotnovcan Aptly expressed! – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 28 '17 at 22:57
  • @GaryBotnovcan, StoneyB. As it goes conditionals are one environment where we sometimes see lexical as opposed to auxiliary BE "If you don't be careful, you're going to have an accident", for example. :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Oct 4 '17 at 10:21

The problem itself is not actually 'verb with the conditional clause' in my opinion. It is the way passive voice is formed.
Your second sentence is more natural and, if I get it right, it's also the only grammatically correct solution of two.

I will come to you if I am not held up at work.

In the sentence above, you used a passive voice with the main verb hold. And it requires the auxiliary verb be.

With other ordinary verbs, yes, you can use the negative verb do with not to form a complete main verb. With be... no. On the other hand, your first sentence can sound better if get is used: I will come to you if I don't get held up at work.

More information about passive and active voice here.

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