In present and future time references, do we have to use the future aspect before "till"

Sentence I:

The hair and nails will continue to grow till you die.

I ask, because, to my mind, the act of growing is a fact; so it makes more sense to me to say:

Sentence II:

The hair and nails continue to grow till you die

However, I have some doubts about my using sentence II without the modal "will". Is sentence I more grammatically acceptable than sentence II?

  • 1
    They're both grammatical, and both acceptable, but on average people [will] use the simpler "present tense" form more often. To my mind the explicitly "future" version carries a slightly stronger implication that whatever will continue happening in the future has only just started happening in the present (or recent, contextually-relevant, past). So I'd expect An untreated cancer will continue to grow until death to occur relatively more often for that implication, but Hair continues to grow until death for the "always did, always will" sense. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 22 '16 at 13:35
  • To my ears, the 'will-less' version is more clinical/formal, the version with the modal either emphatic or more chatty or, as FF says, inchoative-like. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 22 '16 at 14:32

Sentence II (without the modal aux 'will') uses the 'habitual' form. 'Till' is short for 'until', followed by another habitual ('die'). Although it is unlikely that you will die more than once (don't make it a habit), habitual does imply the future, so 'will' is implied. Sentence II implies sentence I.

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