Hi, Rasha Assem, and 'Happy Eid Ul-Fitr,

Rasha Assem posted:

If a tree has deep roots, it (doesn't- won't) fall over in strong winds.

Is it a fact or something that is possible to happen in the future?

Both answers are possible. Although I see that 'doesn't' works better here, I always teach students what they have in their books for the sake of their exams. In fact, this is another old question that I discussed with the editor of Longman Website in 2011. She said:

"Although I do think it is generally true that a tree with deep roots doesn't fall down in a strong wind, I don't think it is necessary to express this with a zero conditional. I could be talking about a particular coming storm. Again, deictic words are not always used in real life. It's making a prediction about a general truth. Compare this to what was taught in Prep 1, Unit 8 with sentences like "If you put wood in water, it'll float." It is a general truth, yet here it is making a prediction. Since there is no context here but an isolated sentence, that is possible."

Rasha Assem posted:

If a tree has deep roots, it (doesn't- won't) fall over in strong winds.

Hello, Rasha,

I fully agree with Ahmed_btm and Longman editor whom he has quoted. It's important to see that both answers are possible, for the reasons they have given.

I find the zero conditional ("If a tree has them, it doesn't fall") to be awkward here, even though it's grammatical. Instead of the zero conditional, I'd say:

  • A tree with deep roots doesn't fall over in strong winds.
  • Trees with deep roots don't fall over in strong winds.
  • Deep-rooted trees don't fall over in strong winds.
  • Trees that don't fall over in strong winds have deep roots.

Actually, there is one zero-conditional that I might use to express that idea. It relates to the fourth variation above and turns your exercise on its head:

  • If a tree doesn't fall over in strong winds, it has deep roots.

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