Grammar Guru: If Congress will pass/ passes/ passed

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If Congress will pass/ passes/ passed the health care bill, US citizens will finally have universal access to health coverage.

The same health care bill (Gesetzesvorlage) has to be passed by both the House and the Senate. Right now the two chambers are still working on separate bills: “Now that the Senate has caught up with the House by passing a sweeping health care bill, lawmakers are on the verge of extending coverage to the tens of millions of Americans who have no health insurance… There are still many gaps to bridge between the House and Senate bills.” (NYT)

There is a great deal of public criticism whenever freedom of choice is affected. We will have to wait and see how the final bill is passed and then put into practice.


2 Responses

  1. Correct: If Congress passes the health care bill, US citizens will finally have universal access to health coverage. 83%, 10 votes – congratulations!
    Incorrect: If Congress will pass and If Congress passed got 9%, 1 vote each

    Well, you know what they say:
    “If and will makes me ill!”
    We generally DON’T use “will” in a first conditional if-clause.

    There is an exception: We use “will” as a polite command, “If you will just sign the form right here.” This is very similar to the polite form “If you would just sign the form at the bottom.” The second might be just a bit more polite.

    For more on the first conditional, see
    Dagmar’s nice explanation and exercise here.

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