General Writing and Grammar Help/Grammar



I have a grammar question.

1. Blogging is great but it takes some time before you (will) start making money with your blog.

2. Blogging is great but it will take some time before you (will) start making money with your blog.

--- I'm not sure, do I need "will" in the first and second sentence after "before you"? Will it be an error if I put it in there?

Thanks, Hector, for your interesting question.

The answer depends largely on the usage of the present tense. As I suspect you know, the verbs in question without the will are in the present tense, and those with the will are in the future tense.

The present tense is not restricted to happenings that take place only in the present. It is also appropriate for happenings that take place at an indeterminate time, as long as that time can include the present.

Both sentences are correct with or without the will.

Each sentence consists of three clauses. Clause #1 is not pertinent to this discussion. Clause #2 is the one introduced by but, and clause #3 is the one introduced by before.

In Sentence 1, clause #2 is correct because it references an indeterminate time including the present. Clause #3 is correct without the will, for the same reason. With the will it is correct because it says essentially the same thing, but pointing to the future. In practical terms there's no difference in meaning between the two ways of phrasing this sentence.

Sentence 2 is analyzed in the same way. The inclusion or not of will makes no practical difference in the meaning.

Please follow up if any of the above is not entirely clear.

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Richard Johnson


I specialize in grammar. I can however answer any question except homework questions--usually the same day--concerning English grammar, usage, or (non-fiction) writing style, on the basis of the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.


I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely largely on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style supplemented, where appropriate, by Long, The New College Grammar.

For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as

BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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