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If You Do That Again - Future Tense Sequence

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “If You Do That Again” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Future Tense Sequence quiz”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

'If you do that again' tests you on future tense sequence.

Often when making plans, we need to discuss how future events may depend on the present: some languages handle the tenses differently from English. Here’s the future tense sequences…

  1. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    'If that child ... ... on the gate, it ... ... sooner or later.'
    Answer 2 is simplest and clearest, but any of these would be fine. Notice that the 'if'-clause uses a present verb to suggest action that is happening now, but will probably go on into the future; Answers 2,3, and 4 all have a Progressive / Continuous sense to them, too.
    You may have noticed that the finished sentence remains ambiguous: what's going to fall, the gate or the child? (Or just possibly, both!)
  2. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    ' ... ... this road, and in under half an hour you ... ... Chipping Norton.'
    Again, any of these Answers would do fine; but No.2 is probably the simplest and clearest.
    Note that in No.3, there is a 'Future Perfect' : ' ... you will have reached ... ' (i.e. you haven't reached it yet, but by then, you will have').
  3. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    'If nobody minds, I ... ... out tonight to hear the concert at the Town Hall.'
    The short, colloquial form does this communicative job just as well as any of the others.
    Once more, any of them would be satisfactory, but Answer 2 is perhaps the most formal and emphatic.
    In any case, there is the 'if'-clause first, in case any one else had other ideas that might stop the speaker going.
    Note that although we can use a Present form to express future action, we do not use the Simple Present ('I go ...').
  4. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    'We can leave the washing-up ... ... .'
    We use the present form for a future action in such a situation as this. Answer 3 (with the implied Future Perfect : 'they [will] have gone') is possible but rather pedantic, though many other languages might insist on a more detailed structure like this.
    Answer 4, while clear enough in what it means to say, is not correct English.
  5. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    'Next year at college she ... ... on Social Sciences.'
    All four Answers are possible here; No.3 is the best and most elegant, because it is grammatically clear but also avoids having two 'ing's (see No.4, which is 'a bit of a mouthful' as we sometimes say!).
    We use the Answer-1 version as 'spoken shorthand' for the Future; at least it has a Continuous element to its structure.
  6. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    'Things have been moving along very fast with those two: did you know they ... ... next month?'
    Answer 1 is clear enough, but almost too simple and not what we'd say;
    Answer 2 is possible, but the usual phrases also contain the word 'get', which this version doesn't;
    Answer 4 is clear again but probably has slightly more words in it than it needs.
    Again we have an example of the Present Continuous / Progressive verb denoting a single future event, which may seem a bit strange but is a widespread usage in modern spoken English.
  7. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    (from a North-Country folksong for children:)
    'Dance to your Daddy, my little laddie; (...)
    You shall have a fishie, on a little dishie,
    (...) When the boat ... ... . '
    ('When it does ... you will ...') : a future condition is expressed using a present verb.
    Somehow this is a bit like the earlier days of computer-programming, using an English-based coding language called BASIC, where conditional instructions were given in such terms as :
    'IF x = 2 THEN PRINT 'YES!' '
    ('X' may not have happened to be equal to 2 when the program was written; but as and when it ever did have that value ~ at some point then in the future ~ the computer would have done what it had been told!)
  8. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    'If this train ... ... arrive at York by 12:30, we ... ... have lunch with Fred and Sandra.'
    The 'if'-clause takes a Present verb, so Answers 3 and 4 are no good.
    Answer 2 uses the (sightly) emphatic form, as though to express some doubt whether the train will be punctual. ('It would be good if it were!')
    Answer 1 uses a very old-fashioned, poetic tense sequence, which also suggests that a timely arrival is very unlikely. It is in correct English, but not an appropriate way to express the situation in this context.
  9. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    'If you ... ... difficult about this transaction, I ... ... my business elsewhere.'
    Only Answer 3 is good and clear here.
    Answer 2 is just about possible, in the sense that 'Because you are continuously making this difficult, I shall be looking somewhere else.' But this places two different senses on the Continuous verb forms (which look/sound as though they are meant to be understood in parallel), so there is some 'internal structural interference' between them, and the overall effect is not strengthened after all.
  10. Choose the answer that fills the gap/s using the best clear accurate English.
    As they say in certain musical circles :
    'The show ain't* over until the fat lady ... ... .'
    (* ain't = 'isn't' ~ a quite widespread alternative form, though rarely used with any seriousness now)
    The Present verb represents the future here, again.
    The operatic reference is almost certainly to Verdi's 'La Traviata'.

Author: Ian Miles

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