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I may just be in my own head, but I'm trying to figure out how these two sentences differ:

  1. If you walk down the street, you'll see an oak tree.
  2. If you were to walk down the street, you'd see an oak tree.

Is it that the first one describes something hypothetical that you could do now, while the second one describes something hypothetical that you could do in the future?

(What I'm trying to say is, "If you hypothetically do X, whether now or sometime the future, then Y happens.")

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Why do you think they mean different things? – Peter Shor Feb 24 '13 at 17:15

Because walking down the street is something that you can (probably) do, they are interchangeable. But if the antecedent is something that you could not practically do, the first becomes incoherent:

If you hover above the street you'll see an oak tree

but the second remains reasonable:

I you hovered (or "were to hover") above the street, you would see an oak tree.

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