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When I'm telling about the future but refering to the past which is not the past yet, which tense should I use? Please, tell me, what you, as a native speaker would use, and what do other people use. Please, write about the dialect you use (BrE/ AmE/ AuE etc.).

  1. Today: the situation is in state A.
  2. Tomorrow: the situation is in state A or B.
  3. Two days later: I want to report about the situation.

    • I will tell you if the situation changed.
    • I will tell you if the situation has changed.
    • I will tell you if the situation will have changed.
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    'The situation will have changed' is predicting the future. You are talking about a future promise to report on the situation at that time, so I would use 'has changed' (Br E). – Kate Bunting May 17 at 9:45
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The present perfect works here. "Present" tenses can often be used in "non-past" situations, and we are talking about the state at a non-past time.

You could also use simple present: "I'll tell you if the situation changes". This slightly changes the meaning. The present perfect suggests that "I'll tell you about the situation and whether it has changed or not at some point in the future" the simple present suggests "I will tell you only when the situation changes, if nothing changes I won't tell you."

| improve this answer | |
  • Interesting. So the reported speech is special only in the past, as they teach at school, but in the future nothing special happens, it seems. – musialmi May 18 at 19:05

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