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Which one of the following two sentences is correct?

1.) When you complete your service you will retire on pension

2.) When you have completed your service you will retire on pension.

I think first one is not incorrect.

2 Answers 2

1

TLDR: they are both fine but if this is a quiz, your teacher has a “right answer” in mind, and it’s number two.


Here’s the difference

From your examples:

Let’s look at #2 first.

2.) When you have completed your service you will retire on (a) pension.

This is a conditional. “When you have completed” is not the past tense, it’s the future conditional.

And it’s followed by {you will retire on pension}. That’s the future too, so the two tenses match. That’s looking pretty good.

Now how about #1:

1.) When you complete your service you will retire on (a) pension

The first part is a present-tense conditional (you complete), meaning the very near future — and the second part is the future tense (you will retire).

So you have the immediate future followed by the “regular” future.

Why is there a change in tense? No reason: it’s a small mistake.

This is a very small mistake, and not even the Queen of England herself would correct you if you said it in Her Majesty’s presence.

Here is the correction:

1B.) When you complete your service, you retire on (a) pension

The first part is a present-tense conditional, the second part is also present tense. That sounds better.

But: although this sentence is grammatically correct, it sounds pretty informal. The original #2 version— where retirement is in the future and so is the pension— is much more natural sounding.

-1

The first sentence is present tense "you complete your service". The second one represents someone who has already completed their service. I agree that the second one is correct being that you retire on pension only once you have already completed your services.

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  • But is the first one wrong?
    – user93387
    Sep 5, 2019 at 17:45
  • I'm not positive that it's wrong but it definitely sounds awkward.
    – Nicki
    Sep 5, 2019 at 17:49
  • 1
    Not awkward to me (BrE). They both mean the same thing.
    – JeremyC
    Sep 5, 2019 at 21:47
  • @JeremyC I agree 100% that I would say either one with no regrets. But I think that one has a very small, pedantic error. . . answer posted. Sep 6, 2019 at 2:55

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