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I'm wondering whether doesn't or wouldn't should be used.

Dad doesn't / wouldn't let Joanne watch TV as a punishment because she hasn't done her homework.

I'd appreciate your help.

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  • Is won't not an option? – Efe Feb 4 at 4:16
  • "Won't" indicate the future. But in my example, the ban holds at present. – Apollyon Feb 4 at 5:12
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    @Apollyon won't can also express an intent not to do something right now. – JavaLatte Feb 4 at 6:05
  • Consider this scenario: Dad found out that Sam hasn't done his work, and scolded him and told him about the ban. As a bystander, could I say "Dad won't let Joanne watch TV as a punishment because she hasn't done her homework"? – Apollyon Feb 4 at 6:36
  • Yes, you could. In fact, that's very typical. Your question is on the general subject of tense agreement. If you google that, you will find a lot of information that you should find helpful. – BobRodes Feb 4 at 9:13
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doesn't is used in a situation that has been going on for some time, and is likely to continue.

Dad doesn't let us watch television because he thinks it's a waste of time

wouldn't can be used about a habitual action in the past

Dad wouldn't let us watch television when we were young because he thought that it's a waste of time

wouldn't can also be used about a hypothetical situation:

Dad wouldn't stop me from watching television even if I didn't do my homework.

If you are talking about yesterday, you would use didn't: note that you use past perfect hadn't because the homework was not completed before he imposed the ban.

Dad didn't let Joanne watch television because she hadn't done her homework.

If you are talking about right now, you would isn't: note that you use present perfect hasn't because the homework is still not completed.

Dad isn't letting Joanne watch television because she hasn't done her homework.

Note that you can use wouldn't in place of didn't, won't in place of doesn't (and also isn't, with small changes to the construction) if you regard it as an act of will- for example due to principle or petulance- on Dad's part rather than a simple ban.

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  • Are you implying that "Dad wouldn't let Joanne watch TV because she hasn't done her homework" is wrong? – Apollyon Feb 4 at 5:00
  • @Apollyon yes, that's correct. hasn't means the homework is still uncompleted, which may be true but it's unimportant for the story. hadn't means that the homework was not completed before the ban, and that is important for the story. – JavaLatte Feb 4 at 6:12

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