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I was writing an email and faced the following situation:

I am coming to Oxford this summer. If you are still around, I would be glad to hang out with you.

Now normally we don't construct the conditional statement like the one above, where a present verb is followed by would. But if I change the second one to will it kind of becomes very direct and that's not what I want. So is the construction above still correct or should I go with something else? If it's correct, could someone explian the technical details behind it?

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I think it's acceptable. It implies "If you are still around then", so would is fine because it's obviously in the future. –  minitech May 23 '12 at 1:44
    
Should be should, just as it should be I shall rather than I will; (Ducks shower of rotten fruit) but don't worry too much about it. –  TimLymington May 23 '12 at 13:43

3 Answers 3

Firstly, I think in conversational language the rule around having to use past tense in the conditional clause when the main clause is in subjunctive are often not followed, so it's fine.

If your main concern is not wanting to sound too direct, I would rephrase the sentence to: "If you are still around then, it would be great to hang out."

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This is perfectly grammatical. You can use a present-tense verb with "if" to talk about the possibility of a future event - check out my answer on Future tense in conditional clauses for more details.

For the second clause, your intuition is correct; "would" and "will" mean the same in this context, but "would" is a little less direct.

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My question is about the placement of would after the use of present tense in the if clause. Normally it should be as most books support: if you were still around, I would be glad to see you. Besides, your other answer focuses on the use of auxiliary in the if clause. –  Noah May 23 '12 at 8:34

This is conversational, so some shorthand taking place. The phrase "If you are still around" is a short hand way of saying "If you are still going to be around then" or similar, the implicit future tense being indicated by the prior reference to "this summer".

So the "would" fits in perfectly in this context.

The future tense is also, interestingly, implicit in the first phrase "I am coming to Oxford this Summer" might be better put as "I will be coming to Oxford this Summer", but the future tense again is implied by the "Summer" reference. As it stands, while being perfectly OK, could imply that you are already on your way, and will arrive in Oxford by the Summer, as you are in the present tense coming to Oxford.

So while strictly, there could be improvements for a more formal statement, to add clarity, for conversational/email usage, it is perfectly acceptable.

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