I'm reading The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald and there's one part of the book where Jordan Baker goes to sleep and says:

'Good-night' she said softly. 'Wake me at eight, won't you?'

If you'll get up

I will. Good-night, Mr Carraway. See you anon.

What does If you will mean in this context?

Could be the sentence written as If you get up?

  • You can read "If you'll get up" as "(I'll do that) if you'll get up". I believe that using will (in If you'll getup) sounds better because the getting up is a consequence of being waken up. – Damkerng T. Dec 7 '14 at 7:58
  • @DamkerngT.: I wonder if we can reconstruct it as "If you will (be able to) get up when I try to wake you tomorrow, then I will indeed be successful in waking you." – CowperKettle Dec 7 '14 at 8:17
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    @CopperKettle Not quite, I think. I think it's more like, "I'll wake you if you will get up if (when) I wake you." – Damkerng T. Dec 7 '14 at 8:27
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    @DamkerngT. - Lewis Carroll would've liked the question. – CowperKettle Dec 7 '14 at 8:30
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    Do what you will. Sit here if you will. The Free Dictionary uses "will" as a verb to mean to desire or wish. – Khan Dec 7 '14 at 17:31
  • If you get up.

  • If you'll get up.

We don't usually see the auxiliary verb will in the if-clauses of conditionals. One time that we do see it is when will has the meaning of agree to or be willing to. The first example is just a normal conditional where we use the present simple in the if-clause, although we're talking about the future. In the Original Poster's example, "if you 'll get up" has the meaning: "if you're willing to get up". The version without will is perfectly grammatical, but doesn't have this extra meaning.

Hope this is helpful!


I am willing to try to rouse you tomorrow morning (only) if you actually wake up when I do (and not say you want to stay asleep, for example).

Call me tonight.
--If you'll answer.

The implication of the reply is that often calls are sent to voice-mail, say.

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