Translation:If it rains tomorrow, we will stay at home.
It works similarly to how it works in English. After all, even when morrow, the now old-fashioned synonym of morning, was still in wider use, there was no confusion with tomorrow:
- "als het morgen regent" - "if it rains tomorrow"
- "als het 's morgens regent" - "if it rains in the morrow/morning".
I don't consider "If it's raining tomorrow..." a correct construction. Using present continuous in an IF clause should only refer to fixed arrangements, not unknown outcomes such as the weather.
"If you're staying for the weekend, we'll go to the cinema." -- this works because you're making a plan to stay.
"If it rains this weekend, we won't be able to go to the beach." -- it may or may not rain, nobody can consider it "fixed".
See here: http://www.englishtenses.com/first_conditional "if + present continuous, to indicate a present actions or a future arrangement."
This would fall under the "future arrangement" usage, according to that link.
"If it is raining" implies that a decision will be made based on whether it is raining at that moment. In other words, it describes the ongoing situation at the time of the decision.
"If it has rained" and "If it rains" imply something more general. In this example sentence, "if it rains tomorrow" implies that rain at any point during the day would cause us to stay home.
You can also say "if it's going to rain tomorrow", which implies that you will check the prediction for rain and then make a decision, regardless of whether the rain has happened yet.
Could a Dutch native speaker tell us which of these meanings are intended with this sentence?
Unfortunately, it doesn't reference the moment of the decision, it just says "tomorrow".
I would, indeed, say "If it's raining when we get up, we will stay at home," which is in fact an arrangement at a fixed point in the future.
On the other hand, when it's ambiguous, I'd go for "If it rains tomorrow, we'll stay at home," since you can't really say that you have a continuous tense for the whole day.
The English word if is used in two different ways. Firstly, it is found at the start of conditional subclauses, like in this sentence. You could replace it with "provided that" or "in the case that" or sometimes just with "when". As you can see in this sentence, Dutch uses "als" (or "indien") for this meaning of if.
The other meaning of if is the same as the English word whether, which is used with subclauses that contain some uncertainty. "I want to know if/whether he is sick". In this case, Dutch uses the word "of": "Ik wil weten of hij ziek is".
I hope that helps!
No, because it's not English. Are you a native speaker of a Romance language by any chance? In most Romance languages you can just say "rains" instead of "it rains", but in English the impersonal it can't be omitted. And it cannot be replaced by an adverb such as tomorrow, either. But it works exactly the same way in Dutch as it does in English, so just make sure to translate het even if it feels strange to you.
Proto-Germanic had only two tenses, present and past. Future was simply expressed with present tense. The modern Germanic languages differ in how common and acceptable it still is to use the present tense for the future. In English the future tense is used more systematically than in Dutch.
Tomorrow can't rain, only 'it' can rain. This is because "Rains." is not a complete English sentence. 'It' is a general difference between Germanic languages and Romance languages that Germanic languages always require a formal subject somewhere in the sentence. Unlike in many Romance languages and many other language families, a sentence without a separate subject is considered incomplete in Germanic languages. (Modern French is like a Germanic language in this respect, either due to strong Germanic influence or because this is a trend in Romance languages caused by the decline of personal verb endings and the rise of pronouns.)
Thank you! Yeah I was hoping I could get away with the tacit subject, I consider it a very powerful feature of a language (avoids unnecessary repetition), and in particular in Spanish I think it allows some of our idiosyncratic ways of behaving (being able to chatter indirectly about a subject for half an hour before asking a favor).