when asking the question, someone says you had vs you have.
what is the difference between these.

What would you do if you had one year free.

What will you do if you have one year free.

1 Answer 1


For "if" questions, English pairs a verb in the conditional mood (would do) with a verb in the past tense (had).

A verb in the present or future tense (will do) is paired with a verb in the presesnt tense (have).

In the first example, the past-tense verb expresses a hypothetical, with an implication that it's unlikely. Many other languages would use the subjunctive mood here, but English doesn't have subjunctive conjugations (anymore); we just use the simple past.

In the second example, the present-tense verb is an immediate possibility, a practical consideration, not a daydream.

Now grammatically, the likelihood of the precondition (having a year free) isn't really important. I mention that nuance because it tends to inform how you'd construct the sentence.

The rule is that if you use would, it's paired with the past tense. If you use will, it's paired with the present.

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