Can you use two wills when talking about the future?

When talking about the future, people usually use one present tense and one future tense, right? For example,

"I will take care of that for you so that your life can be easier"

But I'm wondering if I can use two wills and say the following for these kinds of sentences:

"I will take care of that for you so that your life will be easier"

2 Answers 2


This is fine. The present > future pattern is 'usual' only in conditional constructions:

If he does this, I will do that.

In these the 'tense' forms aren't really time references. I will do isn't any more futurive than the does - it signifies subsequence or consequence relative to the if clause rather than an actual temporal relationship to the time of utterance.

In other contexts, the restrictions on using future constructions in consecutive clauses are logical and factual, not grammatical. All of these are OK:

He will do this and I will do that.
He will do this to insure that I will do that.
He will do this, consequently I will do that.

As for the question TecBrat raises:
In your first sentence, the can is only 'present' tense in form; its reference is just as futurive as the will in your second sentence. The fact is, English doesn't have a 'present' form, despite the name. The two tenses in English verb forms are not past and present but past and non-past, and the 'present' form can be used with either present or future reference.

I'm in your neighbourhood tomorrow evening—want to get together for a drink?

When you get right down to it, this is the only way to express future reference with can. Full modal verbs like can cannot be used with auxiliaries like will and be and have, because they are defective—they do not have the non-finite forms (infinitive and participles) which the auxiliaries require.

  • I'll certainly agree with that! Jun 14, 2013 at 3:50
  • Hmm, I was going to ask a new question on something similar. Can I ask you this before I do? Then is present perfect as futuristic as present tense and future tense? "Let me know if I need to make corrections after you have received it and have reviewed it"--are the present perfect verbs used in this sentence basically as futuristic as "Let me know if I need to make corrections after you receive and review it"? I hope I'm making sense.
    – jess
    Jun 14, 2013 at 4:05
  • @jess The perfect's just fine there - though I'd flip the clauses: *After you have ... let me know ... * Imperative, after all, is inherently futurive. Jun 14, 2013 at 10:06
  • @ StoneyB So the difference between the two sentences in my comments is stylistic, right? I can either choose to use present tense or present perfect and still convey the same meaning? Wow, there are so many different ways to say the same thing in English!
    – jess
    Jun 14, 2013 at 13:14
  • @ StoneyB Even with "will", the next two sentences are interchangeable, right? Like, these two sentences both refer to a future event? "I will do it as soon as I get home" = "I will do it as soon as I have arrived at home"
    – jess
    Jun 14, 2013 at 13:17

Yes, the second sentence makes sense.

Perhaps another answerer can explain better than I can, how "your life can be easier" actually makes sense as a future event, regardless of the apparent tense of the "be" verb, "can".

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