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I will come home when I finish work.

I read a rule in book saying with time words like when, after, until we use the present tense forms to talk about the future.

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As soon as we hear from the suppliers we will let you know when the goods will be in stocks.

But why in 2 sentence book uses "will" in time clause. Shouldn't it be "when the goods are in stocks"?

2 Answers 2

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Will can be used in a when clause to refer to a time after a future Refererence Time.

In your example, the merchants with whom you are corresponding may be promising either of two different things:

  • They may mean they will notify you as soon as they have the goods in stock. If, for instance, they receive the goods on the 15th of the current month they will notify you immediately, on the 15th, that they have the goods. In this case, the when clause in their promise takes the present form:

    We will let you know when the goods are in stock.

  • But they may, instead, mean that they will notify you as soon as they know when they expect to have the goods in stock. If, for instance, the suppliers notify them on the 15th of the current month that the goods will arrive on the 1st of the following month, they will notify you immediately, on the 15th, that the goods will be in stock on the 1st. In that case, the when clause in their promise may take a future-referent will:

    We will let you know when the goods will be in stock.

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I think it is more correct to say 'I will come home after I have finished work', or 'I will come home after I finish work'. The work must be completed before you can possibly leave - so it's after and not at the moment.

In '2', yes, you could say 'when the goods are in stock'.

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