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Below I have two sentences which I will write for school.

  1. Not everyone will experience a pandemic in their lifetime.

  2. Not everyone experiences a pandemic in their lifetime.

Afterwards I'm writing something such as "and spend/spends two years at home".

What is the difference between those? It seems to me that the first sentence is about something that will happen in the future, and the second sentence is about what will happen right now.

Thank you for your help!

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  • Do you understand the difference between simple present and simple future? These sentences have that same difference. There's nothing special going on here.
    – gotube
    Jan 5 at 23:29

1 Answer 1

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As is often the case in the choice of tenses and apectual expressions in English, the difference is not in the objective facts, but purely in how the speaker is choosing to depict them. The phrase in their lifetime sets the objective time range, the same in both cases.

In your number 1, the speaker is focussing on now, and (notionally) looking forward to the rest of the person's life. In number 2, the speaker is making a timeless statement, and there is no particular temporal focus.

I cannot find any practical difference in these as they stand; but as usual with temporal focus, there could be a difference in the interpretation of following sentences,

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