You may have had someone question your availability for an event, with either the phrase “would you be available?” or “will you be available?” But is one more correct than the other? Here you will learn the difference between the two phrases and some rules around proper usage for each.
Is It More Grammatical To Use “Would You Be Available” Or “Will You Be Available”?
Both of the phrases “would you be available” and “will you be available” are grammatically correct and can be used properly in a question about someone’s availability. The main difference is that “will you be available” is typically definitive and “would you be available” is typically conditional.
Both of the phrases mean “can you come, but the phrase “will you be available” sounds more authoritative, and “would you be available” is more polite and or respectful and makes the question more like a request than a demand for an answer.
What Does “Would You Be Available” Mean?
“Would you be available” means that you would like to find out if someone can attend a specific event. It is a conditional phrase which means that the event most likely has not yet been confirmed and confirmation of it might depend on the response of the individual being asked.
It also implies politeness, respect, and an invitational nature to the question. It might be used by someone who is not in an authority position over the other person and therefore, is showing respect for them as a higher-up person (i.e., like their boss or manager).
Here are some examples that show the conditional nature of this phrase and its politeness.
- I wanted to ask you about the promotion I saw coming up in the next few months. Would you be available to discuss it with me in the morning?
- If we set aside the first week of June for vacation, would you be available to join us that week at the beach house?
- We had an emergency with our babysitter this afternoon. Would you be available to watch Dominic for a few hours until I get home from work?
Note how in these examples, the asker is not demanding the availability of the other person in any way, but rather is politely inquiring as to whether they have time to do the task or attend the event.
What Does “Will You Be Available” Mean?
“Will you be available” is also a way of inquiring as to whether or not someone can attend a meeting, event, or other function. This phrase is definitive in nature, which means that the event or task in question has already been determined and set up.
The question in this case, therefore, is more authoritative and straightforward in nature and expects a definite answer. The answer to the question will not change the event or task that has been set, but rather confirm whether or not the person in question will be there. In other words, the event will still occur regardless of whether the person is available or not.
Although it is typically definitive, it can also be used in circumstances where the event might not yet have been set in stone, but the person coordinating it wants to obtain an immediate and definite answer on availability.
Here are some examples that show it being used in the definitive sense.
- A group of us is taking Miles out for his birthday this Saturday, will you be available to come as well?
- Will you be available to come with me to my doctor’s appointment next Tuesday? I’d love to have you there for support.
- We’re planning our wedding for June 30th in Mexico, will you be available?
In each of these sentences, the event or the task has already been set and will still take place even if the person being questioned says “no.”
Here is one example that shows it used in a more conditional sense, but still with an air of authority about it.
- If I schedule the meeting for next Tuesday, will you be available to attend it?
Are “Would You Be Available” And “Will You Be Available” Interchangeable?
Both “would you be available” and “will you be available” are other ways of saying “will you make it,” or “can you come,” so they can be used interchangeably based solely on their meaning.
However, as a general rule, you should first assess the tone that you want your question to take and base your choice of phrase on whether you want to sound more authoritative or polite and if you require a definitive answer right away or not.
Is “Would You Be Available” Or “Will You Be Available” Used The Most?
Currently the phrase “would you be available” is used more often than “will you be available,” but there have been periods of time when their usage was equal or “will you be available” was more popular.
The Google Ngram Viewer here shows this interesting trend. Notice that from about 1800 until about 1920, the usage of the two phrases overlapped greatly and was pretty much equal.
Around 1920, the expression “will you be available” became more popular. It continued to rise and then peaked around the mid-1940s and started to drop back down again until it was once again almost equal to the usage of “would you be available.”
The two phrases remained more or less equally used until about 2005 when “would you be available” took over in popularity and continues to hold that lead until today.
Is It More Grammatical To Use “Are You Available” Instead Of “Would/Will You Be Available”?
The phrases “are you available,” “would you be available,” and “will you be available” are all grammatically correct and can be used primarily based on your preference. “Are you available” tends to be a more casual usage of the phrase and would most likely be used amongst friends or peers?
Like “will you be available”, the phrase “are you available” tends to take on a more authoritative voice and seeks to have an immediate answer. However, it can be effectively used in the place of either of the other two phrases.
Here are some examples:
- Are you available to meet with Mr. Brannon tomorrow to discuss your son’s recent behavior at school?
- Ms. Markham would like to set up an interview with you about the job. Are you available at 3:00 PM on the 18th?
- Are you available to help me study for the Calculus test after school tomorrow?
Notice how in each of these sentences, you could swap out the expression “are you available” for “will you be available” or “would you be available” and the meaning would remain the same.
You may also like:
7 Better Ways To Ask “Are You Free” (Professional Meeting)
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“Would You” vs. “Could You”: Difference Explained (Examples)
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.