Reply to "he will be the man who..."

navi posted:

I hadn't thought of the habitual reading at all!! Couldn't sentences '1' and '3' have the habitual reading?

Hello, Navi: Yes, they certainly could.

navi posted:
I thought if someone was guessing, or deducing from evidence, that John would be the man in question, then they'd be more likely to use '2' or '3'. '1' seems to be the bare statement of a fact. 

I think that interpretation works, Navi. I still have a slight preference for (3), however, to avoid doubling up on the future auxiliary.

tara posted:

After you answered Navi's question can you please explain if we use "will" like "present simple" for habitual actions"?

Hi, Tara: Yes, as you can see above, "will VP" sometimes admits a future-oriented habitual reading. This is easier to see when an adverbial is added. For example, the sentence "John is the man who will meet you at the airport when you return from business trips" obviously has a habitual reading. Without the "when"-clause, the sentence could easily be talking about a single future event instead.

Please note that the habitual reading under discussion here is different from that found in sentences  like "On Saturday, John will often sleep in," which means that John has the present habit of sleeping in on Saturday. "Will" adds a certain special quality to such sentences; we could call it "willfulness." Such sentences differ subtly in meaning from sentences like "On Saturday, John often sleeps in."

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