An independent clause that refers to a hypothetical situation contingent on another set of circumstance.

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How do the tenses and aspects in English correspond temporally to one another?

Non-native speakers often get confused about what the various tenses and aspects mean in English. With input from some of the folk here I've put together a diagram that I hope will provide some ...
3
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3answers
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“If I go..” vs. “If I will go..” referring to the future [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Future tense in conditional clauses Which one is correct? option 1: If I go there, I can meet her or option 2: If I will go there, I can meet her I clearly ...
15
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5answers
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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
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1answer
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Conditional sentences not starting with “if”

Were I rich, I would live on Long Island. If I were rich, I would live on Long Island. Is the first sentence still used, or is used in particular contexts (in example, to give emphasis to the ...
3
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2answers
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What does “would not have been possible had I remained” mean?

What does this mean? I am sure this would not have been possible had I remained a typical Anglophone North American. I have never heard that before and I really find it strange. I deduce that ...
8
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3answers
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When should I use “Would”, “Would have”, “Will”, and “Will have”?

I hope someone, once and for all, can clarify (with examples) the difference in usage of will vs. would vs. would have vs. will have.
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votes
3answers
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“Even were he not to…”

I am currently reading "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" by P.K. Dick and I have come across a grammatical structure I don't quite understand. The excerpt is the following (no spoilers, don't ...
2
votes
2answers
5k 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) ...
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4answers
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“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 ...
2
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3answers
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The third conditional for “if I could”

What is the third conditional for "if I could"? For example, we say: If I had studied hard, I would have passed the exam. How about this: If I could study, I would have passed the exam.[Is ...
9
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3answers
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Different conditional clauses — “if you saw”, “if you were to see”, “if you had seen”

Given the following sentences, what is the difference between the conditional clauses in them? If you saw a lion in a thick forest, what would you do? If you were to see a lion in a thick ...
5
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1answer
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Speculative conditional: Why does it use the past tense or past perfect tense?

We use simple past to state a hypothetical present situation that we would like to speculate about (If they were here, I would be happy), past perfect for a hypothetical past (had they been here, I ...
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3answers
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When is “will” used in an “if” clause?

Given the following sentences that use will in the if clause (which is seldom with if-clauses and therefore, I'm not sure they all are even grammatical or not). If you will/would kindly lend me ...
0
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2answers
378 views

“would” and “will”

which one is correct OR what is the difference between the following sentences: I think the duration of the meeting would be two hours. I think the duration of the meeting will be two hours. ...
4
votes
2answers
927 views

The use of "were- should- had” at the beginning of sentences instead of “if”

Conditionals in English are usually formed by using if with normal word order; but for the three past (subjunctive) forms were, should, and had, it is also possible to express the conditional through ...
3
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2answers
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Must conditional sentences begin with “if?”

I've been looking at conditional sentences (conditional clauses). Every example I've see is along the lines of, "if [x] then [y]." I've seen alternatives/substitutes for the if part: were I ...
13
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3answers
4k views

“whether” vs. “if ” [duplicate]

How can I know when should I use whether or if in a sentence? I can not see any difference between whether and if. When should I use each? For me, they are the same and I am not sure if there is a ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

would have and would in non conditional statements

Can we use both would have and would in non conditional past statements? For example: Last year during the summer, I would go home on weekends. past habitual Last year during the summer, I ...
5
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3answers
602 views

Future tense usage: “When you see it …”

I wonder why the phrase is "When you see it you will shit brix," and not "When you will see it you will shit brix." Is the version with two will incorrect? What grammar rule says that you should not ...
4
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2answers
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“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 ...
4
votes
2answers
693 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 ...
2
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2answers
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Usage of “will” and “would”

Which one is correct? What would I do without you. What will I do without you. You would always be my favorite travel buddy. You will always be my favorite travel buddy.
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3answers
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If I were him, I would doubt if she (is/was/were?) serious about this relationship

Which one is correct? If I were him, I would doubt if she is serious about this relationship. If I were him, I would doubt if she was serious about this relationship. If I were him, I would doubt if ...
2
votes
4answers
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If conditional “didn't” vs “hadn't”

Grammar rules say that hadn't is used for unreal past conditions, but why can't we use simple past negation instead of past perfect? If I hadn't come to the meeting, it wouldn't have happened. ...
1
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1answer
160 views

2nd Condition or mixing 2nd and 3rd for assumption time in the past

Which of the two following sentences would be better to use for a situation where I regret that I did not do something in the past? If it were yesterday, I would buy the car. If it were yesterday, I ...
1
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2answers
573 views

Inverted conditional sentence using 'can' and 'will'

On this page in Wikipedia!, it states for first conditional sentences: The condition can also be expressed using the modal verb should. This form can be used to make an inverted condition ...
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2answers
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“If there were” vs. “if there was” [closed]

I saw that there were already examples on this, but I didn't find any specific enough. My problem is this sentence: If there were anything that he didn't want, it was to hurt me. I previously ...
31
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13answers
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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" ...
9
votes
2answers
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“Will have” vs. “Would have”

By the end of the year, I would have attended this school for five years. Of course, the "most" correct way of writing this would be: By the end of the year, I will have attended this school ...
8
votes
5answers
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“If I didn't have” vs. “if I hadn't had”

Can someone please tell me if these sentences are correct? I prefer number one. Here I am trying to talk about a past condition that didn't actually happen because the person had the example sentences ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Usage of “would have been”

In the movie "A Walk to remember" Jimmie's father says the following to his son-in-law who got into medical school. Actually Jimmie is dead when he says, We are proud of you, son. Jimmie would ...
8
votes
4answers
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Placing a comma after a conditional statement

I've always had difficulties in figuring out where commas should be placed. For example, in a phrase containing a conditional statement, how should I write... If they don't arrive by noon, she'll ...
4
votes
2answers
651 views

Conditionals in the future

My colleague and I have a hot discussion about which is correct. My version is: If you don't fix the bug I will send you a patch. and his one is: I would send you a patch if you don't fix ...
2
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3answers
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Is “even if…” followed by present or future tense? [duplicate]

Is it correct to say: even if only James Bond will benefit from... or even if only James Bond benefits from...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Which tense after 'would I… if… ?'

I am struggling on a sentence here. Let me show u what I come up with; Would I fail if I won't study? In this sentence I am trying to indicate a possibility but I am not sure if I use this part ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Subjunctive mood: 'was' usage after 'I wish' and 'if only'

SFX Magazine had declared the sentence below as follow: 1) STAR TURN, 2) BEST LINES. I wish Bernard Cribbins was my grandad. Perhaps he would be willing to adopt? Rattigan: “If only that ...
7
votes
2answers
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Comma in conditional sentence and in antithesis

I've got a couple questions: Should I always put comma between condition and consequence parts, like in the following sentence: If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Should I always ...
6
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5answers
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Is it correct to say: “I would do something, be it me”?

I mean that "I would do something, if it only were me. But it was not me, so I've done nothing".
3
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3answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
13k views

“If you were to …” or “If you …” or “If you will …”

If you were to go home you would feel better versus If you went home you would feel better versus If you will go home you will feel better Are all the above correct? Are ...
2
votes
0answers
89 views

if or should to ask possibility? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: A special use of “should”? I have received an email which was starting wih this: Should you have any questions, please call at this number... So could ...
1
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1answer
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“… if we become friends” or “became” or “were to become”?

"I would feel happy if we become friends." (become) or "I would feel happy if we became friends." (became) or "I would feel happy if we were to become friends." (were to become) Update: or "I ...
1
vote
1answer
933 views

Conditional Subjunctive and Conditional Indicative

I am confused. When should the conditional subjunctive and the conditional indicative be used? Conditional subjunctive: If you were 23 yrs old, you could join the contest. Conditional ...
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1answer
273 views

zero conditional and first conditional

We use the so-called zero conditional when the result of the condition is always true. What about following situation. Let's say that we have a poorly written application. :) and I complain that it ...
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5answers
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Difference in meaning: “would have had to be” vs “would have had to have been”

Being a non native speaker, I cannot spot the difference here: He would have had to have been there. He would have had to be there. The only thing that comes to my mind is that in the first case, ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

in case I won't *

A very quick question: Is it correct to say "In case I won't be able to watch that"? If it's acceptable to say that, what type of sentence is it? UPDATE: As a clarification, I want to say "Can ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Using “will” after “if”

I've been told that native-speakers don't ever use "will" after "if", and that saying it this way is a not-native style. So from the film (Harry Potter, pt5) I noticed a line that confused me. Look ...
7
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2answers
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“I would have never said” vs. “I would never say”

I know a lot of questions have been asked about would or would have but I haven't found any answers that help me understand this three-party conversation, with C possibly a native speaker: A: How ...
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1answer
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First conditional with “would” instead of “will”

Consider the following sentence with a first conditional: If it rains tomorrow, I will go to the cinema. All the examples of first conditionals that I found use "will" instead of ...
6
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1answer
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Subjunctive and conditionals

This is another subjunctive and conditional question. I am interested in the formal, even archaic, uses, not just the modern uses (I am given to understand that the subjunctive is disappearing from ...