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My parents will not let me work part-time

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,

I'd like to ask about the sentence "My parents will not let me work part-time."

Does this sentence suggest that I have not asked my parents to let me work part-time?
Does "will" refer to the future?

When you say "do not" instead of "will not", what's the difference?

Thanks in advance.

Hirashin
 

RickNZ

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It strongly suggests that you *have* already discussed it with them and they've told you no. It suggests the present and the future, and possibly the past as well. Definitely an ongoing situation where they won't let you work, it could have been like that for some time already.

If you hadn't asked them, and you were only assuming or guessing that they wouldn't let you, you would say something like "my parents probably will not let me work", or ""My parents would not let me work", or "probably would not".

I'm not sure there's a difference between "do not" and "will not" in this usage. To me they mean the same thing.

Also note that using "would not" and "do not" in full, instead of the usual "wouldn't" and "don't", sounds very formal. It might still be appropriate on a job application letter maybe? I'm out of touch on that. There's not many situations in modern English where you wouldn't use the contracted verisons. Cheers!
 

I Am A Baka

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Will not means that the parents REFUSE to let this person work part-time, but there's a possibility that he has worked part-time in the past.

Do not implies that the parents have never let this person work part-time before. Almost as if it's a family custom to never let any family member work part-time.

Does this sentence suggest that I have not asked my parents to let me work part-time?

In both instances, this person has asked his parents if he can work part-time. As RickNZ mentioned, if they wanted to indicate that they hadn't asked his parents, then they would say:

"My parents probably won't let me work part-time."
 
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OoTmaster

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I think there is a slight difference between will not and do not here. I think will not, or the more casual won't, implies there is a reason for not being able to work. A sentence with that could come with a qualifying statement as to why they are not able to work, "My parents will not let me work part time, because my grades were low on my last report card." While do not, or don't, implies there may not be a reason it is just their stance. Will not also implies that the decision may change, for example with my example above if the person's grades were to improve. While do not implies it is less likely to change, it may just be their general inclination to not let them work.
 

hirashin

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Thank you so much for the help, Rick, I Am A Baka, and OoTmaster.

OoTmaster, I have a question.

I think there is a slight difference between will not and do not here. I think will not, or the more casual won't, implies there is a reason for not being able to work. A sentence with that could come with a qualifying statement as to why they are not able to work, "My parents will not let me work part time, because my grades were low on my last report card." While do not, or don't, implies there may not be a reason it is just their stance. Will not also implies that the decision may change, for example with my example above if the person's grades were to improve. While do not implies it is less likely to change, it may just be their general inclination to not let them work.

Can you say the same thing about the following pair?
(a) This door doesn't open.
(b) This door won't open.

Hirashin
 

RickNZ

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Thank you so much for the help, Rick, I Am A Baka, and OoTmaster.

OoTmaster, I have a question.



Can you say the same thing about the following pair?
(a) This door doesn't open.
(b) This door won't open.

Hirashin

These questions are actually quite tricky, and the more I think about it, the less sure I am about the answer. To me, the main difference here is that "doesn't open" implies that it's usual for it not to open - either it was deliberately blocked for some reason, or you know it's been broken for a long time. "Won't open" somewhat implies you weren't aware of any reason why it shouldn't open, maybe the door is broken and you found out when you tried it. I don't think the usage is exclusive though, you could say it the other way round and it wouldn't be wrong, just less common. I could be wrong. I think this usage is different to "my parents won't" because it's an inanimate object. I don't get the same sense of usual/deliberate vs unexpected/accidental when you say "my parents..."

*edit. Actually, now that I think about it, if you only just found out that your parents won't let you work, you would say "won't", not "don't", so the usage is kind of the same as for the door... if the context was something like:

A: "Did you find out if you can take that part time job we talked about yesterday?"
B: "No, my parents won't let me."

B wouldn't say "my parents don't let me", because that would imply that B already knew that when he talked about it yesterday, and A would wonder why he didn't mention it at the time.

But I think if the context was entirely about the present/future:

A: Here's a good part time job. Can you take it?
B: My parents won't/don't let me work part time.

To me, "won't" and "don't" mean the same thing here.

Now I'm even more confused. LOL.
 
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eeky

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I basically agree with what Rick said. There is an overlap in usage, but generally speaking, and all other things being equal, "don't"/"doesn't" tends to focus on the prevailing longer-term situation, whereas "won't" tends to focus on a particular case (in these examples either an instance of trying to open the door, or an instance of wanting to work part time).
 

OoTmaster

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I agree with Rick on your second question there about the door. The first implies you know that the door doesn't open for some reason like being broken. Won't implies that it usually does or has before but in this instance it will not.
 
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