1
vote
1answer
49 views

“If the robot can learn from a human, it can/could keep track of humans.”

I have the following sentence and I don't know whether "can" or "could" would be a better choice. If the robot can learn from a human, it could keep track of humans. If the robot can learn ...
-2
votes
2answers
221 views

“Had they have”?

Had they have gone to the same place, they would have talked to one another. Is the sentence above acceptable? If not, then what is a proper way of saying this?
2
votes
2answers
225 views

Correct usage of 'but for'?

Does 'but for' mean: 'If we had X (but we didn't), Y would have been the consequence'? Or can it also mean; because we had X, as a result Y happened? Some different examples of but for: (Case 1) ...
1
vote
2answers
63 views

What type of conditional should I use?

I have the sentence: If you had ever fought with A, you know how important it is not to do B. and I'm not sure if it is really correct. It is supposed to mean, "In case you fought with A in past ...
1
vote
2answers
123 views

Why is “till” used in this expression: “If we don't leave till after lunch…”?

If we don't leave till after lunch we'll be cutting it very fine. I understand it to mean: "If we don't leave after lunch, we'll be cutting it very fine." (In the event of our not leaving ...
5
votes
1answer
346 views

If I was an airline pilot vs. If I had been an airline pilot 10 years ago

In a comment signed by Martha, she wrote that: "If I was an airline pilot" and "If I were an airline pilot" have different meanings. The latter is the subjunctive case (and presumably what ...
3
votes
2answers
236 views

Wording an 'If-Then' Statement Tense

I need help phrasing the last part of this conditional sentence (assume I can't change the first conditional statement): If I died tomorrow, I would have wanted to go skydiving. or If I ...
3
votes
2answers
272 views

Tense agreement in conditional statements: “I could do whatever I want” vs. “I could do whatever I wanted”

Consider the following sentences: If I had my own place, I could do whatever I want. If I had my own place, I could do whatever I wanted. She said I could do whatever I want. She ...
1
vote
1answer
628 views

Tense agreement after “if it means that”

I've read that in conditional sentences, tenses don't have to match. Is this true for sentences that contain "if it means"? In the examples below, I'm trying to say something like "I won't write to ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

“When I am 18, I will…” or “When I will be 18, I will…” [duplicate]

Should I say: When I am 18, I'll take my driving test or When I'll be 18, I'll take my driving test Which one is the correct sentence?
1
vote
1answer
923 views

What is the correct way to construct a conditional sentence with “would”?

I was told several times that a conditional sentence with the following structure is incorrect: If I would do this, then he would do that. Rather it should be: If I do this, then he will do ...
2
votes
3answers
668 views

Second conditional when making plans for the future: “If it rained tomorrow, I would go to the cinema.”

If it rained tomorrow, I would go to the cinema. If it didn't rain tomorrow, I would go to school. Which conditional is the best for this use case? Is it correct to use the Second ...
1
vote
1answer
352 views

'Should xxx to be' vs 'Should xxx'

When is it fine to drop to be when should precedes it? For example: It should prove to be successful. vs It should prove successful.
2
votes
2answers
510 views

Past perfect sentence in “I would have killed the snake if I had hit him…”

Is the following a correct past perfect sentence? I would have killed the snake if I had hit him hard with a stick.
2
votes
5answers
765 views

Is it okay to write an if statement just by itself in an email?

Could we write an if statement just by itself in an email? For example: I didn't receive the contract. *So if you could ask her to send me a copy,it would be great.
2
votes
1answer
4k views

“If not for you” meaning

Today I have encountered a phrase: If not for you, I would be poor. I would think it is like "if there were not you", is it like that? On the other hand, how would I say the following as the ...
1
vote
4answers
221 views

Expressing rumour with the conditional

Is it grammatically correct to report a rumour using the conditional ('would be', 'would have') to express the simple present ('is', 'has')? Supposing that the story is not a confirmed fact regarding ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Conditional + Let you know

The context is that a group of us asked a friend to come and have a breakfast, instead of study for a test (bad influence, I know). Initially she said she wouldn't come, but after some badgering on ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

Future tense in conditional clauses

All the textbooks I have ever come across during the course of my studying English emphasize that future tense should not be used in conditional clauses. For example, If it rains in the evening, ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Using “if” or not in a sentence structure when expressing doubt

I use the following sentence construction a lot. I'm not sure if this is right. I was not aware of any problem until recently I noticed that quite a few of my colleagues used it a little ...
1
vote
1answer
794 views

Rule for when to use “could” as a helper?

It would be helpful if you could provide us further details. Is the use of could wrong here? Should it be It would be helpful if you provide us further details. What is the rule when should ...
31
votes
13answers
1k views

Why do I instinctively want to use the present tense with a conditional?

My boss is not a native speaker of English, so he often asks me to correct his writing. The problem is, he wants me to explain why I make changes, and doesn't accept "it just sounds better that way" ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

A conditional sentence with present perfect

Is it correct to say: If you have finished it by then, I'll come and take it. thus using the present perfect in the "if" clause to mean the future instead of the present?
8
votes
3answers
737 views

“Would have” in conditional clauses

I have been taught to use the if I had form in conditional clauses referring to the past: If the president had asked me, I would have told him the same thing. As far as I can tell though, the ...