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I want to ask about these sentences can both be used or there's a mistake?

  • If you plant a tree it grows.
  • If you plant a tree it will grow.
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3 Answers 3

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Forget about conditionals. Which sentence sounds more natural?

If you plant a tree it will grow.

This is because first you plant a tree and then it will grow. This is how we normally talk about stuff.

Whereas,

If you plant a tree it grows.

This sounds like a scientist talking about some axiom or truth. It does not represent practical real life speech.

So both are correct. One is more scientific, one is more natural and realistic.

If it rains you'll take your umbrella.

If it rains you take your umbrella.

show the same difference.

One is like advice, the second is like an axiom or statement of truth.

Which do we do more each day: give advice or talk about theorems?

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  • My suggested answer was similar to yours, so I deleted it. Feb 25, 2015 at 18:57
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    WEll @DavidWashington, I don't know that you have to delete it. It may be uneeded repetition for native speakers, but I think reading a similar answer can be reinforcing for a learner, so I'd encourage you to undelete. Plus, the sample sentence you use is a great one! and shows the "practicality" and "everyday" usage I mentioned, and you are free to borrow any of my terms. In fact, I made this answer from scratch, seeing that other answers concentrated on conditionals. As sort of a alternative type answer.
    – user6951
    Feb 25, 2015 at 19:55
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Both are grammatically correct, but have a slightly different meaning.

If you plant a tree it grows.

This is a generally true statement, eg. an armchair discussion on what happens when a person plants trees, without necessarily implying that "you" have any intention of doing it.

If you plant a tree it will grow.

This is presenting a possibility about what will be the result of some specific action, eg. when "you" are standing in a field holding seeds in your hand and wondering whether to plant them or not.


These are usually called conditional types 0 and 1 respectively, google has many useful resources on the topic if you search for "conditional types"

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  • Not wondering whether to plant them or not, but wondering what will happen if you plant them. But this leads to conditional zero again. Why using conditional 1 is very unlikely for that example.
    – Em1
    Feb 25, 2015 at 15:56
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If you plant a tree, it grows.

If you plant a tree, it will grow.

Both sentences are grammatically correct. Usually, we use the simple present in if-clause and the future simple in the main clause in conditional 1 sentences, but when a sentence is 0 conditional i.e. it refers to something that always happens or is true, we usually use the present simple in both clauses.

As the first sentence talks about something that always happens ( 0 conditional), we use the present simple in both clauses, but the use of the present simple in the if-clause and the future simple (will grow) in the main clause is also possible.

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