I wrote:

Then, if this rule classifies the node as “content”, the node's content will be/is ? added to the content extracted so far; otherwise, if the node's content has been previously extracted as a part of its parent's content, it will be/is ? removed from the extracted content.

For the bold words, is it "is" or "will be"? what is the difference? what is common?

  • 1
    You can use either present or future in this kind of "software description" context. I've no reason to suppose either is significantly more common, or "better" for any other reason (except you should end up with slightly less total text if you stick to present tense, which may be considered beneficial in and of itself). Oct 2, 2015 at 22:48
  • Either is fine as long as you're consistent about which one you use. Oct 2, 2015 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


Your question is about between the first and the zeroth conditional. The short answer is: since your sentence seems to describe a rule, not a future possibility, it is the zeroth and you should use 'is'.

The long answer is...

The first conditional statement type is about a realistic future possibility and its likely or expected consequence. These sentences typically use will. For example,

If you exercise hard enough, you will get into shape.

'Will' implies almost certainty; other modal verbs such as may, can, must can be used instead if the outcome is not guaranteed. (Note that past modals would, should form the second conditional; read about it through the links below).

See also https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-conditional_2.htm.

The zeroth conditional is about facts, laws of nature, and the like, that are not associated with a time frame; they are not just about possibility but about something that actually happens and its unavoidable consequence. Zeroth conditionals use present simple without any modal verb. An example is

If it gets cold enough, the rivers freeze.

Zeroth counditionals can often be restated using when instead of 'if'

If you can change 'if' to 'when', it is a zero conditional.

Visit https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-conditional_5.htm for more.

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