Are both options correct and formal? If so, which one is preferable?

1: It would happen if we don't act against it

2: It would happen if we don't act against

Many thanks!

1 Answer 1


Both are incorrect

  1. It would happen if we don't act against it

It will happen if we don't act against it

  1. It would happen if we don't act against

It will happen if we don't act.

We use will:

to express beliefs about the present or future to talk about what people want to do or are willing to do to make promises, offers and requests.

would is the past tense form of will. Because it is a past tense, it is used:

to talk about the past to talk about hypotheses (when we imagine something) for politeness.

What would happen if we don't act? (hypothesis)

Ref British Council

  • 1
    There's nothing actually incorrect in this answer., but it doesn't address the specific issue OP asked about (whether just against without it is syntactically valid), except indirectly by implication (since you didn't actually include against without it in your "revised" versions, which superficially seem only intended to indicate that OP should have used will rather than would). Feb 15 at 20:18
  • "If we don't take action" sounds more idiomatic to me than "if we don't act", in contemporary UK or US usage. Maybe "act" has too many other meanings, or "take action" sounds more forceful.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 15 at 21:43
  • @stuart-F Agree that is the slogan often heard. But the postee is not incorrrect in using act.
    – Brad
    Jun 10 at 17:39
  • @FumbleFingers here is nothing actually incorrect in this comment. I should have pointed out several problems I could have ripped the post to shreds and jumped all over it. Instead I rectified the tense and explained why. Then removed unnecessary appendages and left it at that. Just think of the length of my reply to correct and explain more points. All of which are in point of fact relatively trivial in comparison to the misuse of tense. But yes I have to agree, technically you are quite correct in your comment.
    – Brad
    Jun 10 at 18:56
  • Yeah - I assume both of us would much rather see will happen IF we don't... or would happen IF we didn't. But I've spent the last couple of decades gradually coming round to tolerance of We're going down the pub. Do you want to come with? - and I'm not willing to spend another decade getting used to Come on, all you malcontents! Rise up and act against! That's a post-positioned preposition too far, for me. Jun 10 at 19:21

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