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Can one use "would" as the conditional in this sentence?

Example: If you go to the jungles in Africa, you would see a lot of animals.

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    I think it's: If you were to go, you would see. OR If you go, you will see. – Jim Dec 16 '13 at 6:17
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    Well, an open conditional could be: "If you go to the jungles in Africa, you will see a lot of animals." A corresponding modally remote conditional could be: "If you went to the jungles in Africa, you would see a lot of animals." – F.E. Dec 16 '13 at 6:49
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If you go to the jungles in Africa, you would see a lot of animals.

Despite the two dogmatic answers, and similar comments, (as of my writing) that state that this sentence is incorrect, I'm loath to force English speakers to speak according to paradigms found in textbooks.

Yes, it is an observable fact that the way native speakers signal an irrealis condition is to use a past tense in the if-clause (protasis) and a "past tense" modal such as would or could in the main clause (apodosis). Thus, in this case, we would expect

If you went to the jungles in Africa, you would see a lot of animals.

...and that the way to signal an open condition, one that may be possible or actually the case, then we would not use the past tenses:

If you go to the jungles in Africa, you will see a lot of animals.

However, spoken or actual English is not so crystal clear or uncluttered as textbook English.

Thus, this true "mixed conditional" construction

If you go to the jungles in Africa, you would see a lot of animals.

could be uttered in such a context as the following:

So you'd like to see a lot of animals, would ya? Is that what you'd like? Well, if you go to the jungles in Africa, like you're planning on doing–I mean you've bought the tickets and you're leaving within the month–(well if you go), you'd see a lot of animals, (since that's what you'd like to see).

The protasis is stated as an open condition because it's an actual possibility and the apodosis with would, because that's the "mode" or mindset that the speaker is in for each proposition of the sentence. He might also say

Go to the jungles of Africa already, and you'd see a lot of animals (since that's what you'd like to see).

These two sentences seem natural enough to me and thus within the realm of possibility, whether they're "licensed" by textbook forms or not.

  • It would help to add information about the registers in which you would (or would not) expect this construction. For example this is much more likely to be observed in informal spoken English than in formal written English. – MetaEd May 23 '16 at 21:21
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English has three types of conditional sentences.

predictive (first conditional, or "conditional I": "If I feel well, I will sing")
speculative (second conditional, or "conditional II": "If I felt well, I would sing")
(third conditional, or "conditional III" "If I had felt well, I would have sung").

It is only the speculative type (second or third conditional) that causes the conditional would to be used.

Use of if with the present tense means using will + infinitive

If you go to the jungles in Africa, you would see a lot of animals. (incorrect)
If you go..., you will see... (correct)

Use of if with the past tense means using would + infinitive

If you went..., you would see... (correct)

here is another good source of the conditional.

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