Since my student days I’ve used abbreviations for the tenses. “I would do” is for me Conditional 1 (C1) and “I would have done” C2. And for me it is not important whether these verb forms are called tenses, moods or aspects. I recently wanted to talk about these verbs forms and realized I can’t talk of C1 and C2 because these are only my private abbreviations. I looked up the English names for these forms and found no standard terms. Instead these forms are awkwardly paraphrased.And when a survey of the tenses is given there are only six tenses, the would-forms are generally omitted.

Now my question: Is there no standard term for these would-forms?

  • There are 12 verb tenses , how did you come up with six tenses ? – Argot Apr 10 '14 at 12:48
  • Actually you're very close: you just need to change your C1 to second conditional and C2 to third conditional (first conditional is "if A, i will do B", zero conditional: "if a, then B") more here – msam Apr 10 '14 at 12:53
  • Could someone explain the question to me?i would be grateful. – Argot Apr 10 '14 at 13:03
  • @msan -You are talking of sentences types with a clause of condition. I talk of tenses. – rogermue Apr 10 '14 at 13:09
  • @Argot - I don't count continous forms as real tenses, they a normal tenses of to be with a special complement. They are a pseudo- conjugation. – rogermue May 31 '15 at 16:50

Conditional Sentences:

  1. Zero Conditional (facts - both parts in present tense): If it rains, water falls from the sky

  2. First Conditional (real possibilities - if+present, will+infinitive): It it rains, I will use my umbrella

  3. Second Conditional (here we talk about the unlikely - if+past simple, would+infinitive): If it were to rain, I would have to buy an umbrella.

  4. Third Conditional (same as 2nd but in the past - if+past perfect, would+perfect infinitive): If it had rained, I would have had to buy an umbrella

  5. Mixed Conditional (mix of time from the above - tenses can be mixed) If it had not rained, I wouldn't be wet

(all the above can also have the progressive aspect)

Conditional mood is the would+verb part in second and third conditional.

Mood and aspect can be combined:

  1. simple aspect: would do (simple conditional)

  2. progressive aspect: would be doing (progressive conditional)

  3. perfect aspect: would have done (perfect conditional)

  4. perfect progressive aspect: would have been doing (perfect progressive conditional)

  • Tense/mood, to write "would + infinitive/infinitive perfect" is cumbersome. Why should a mood not have a name? – rogermue Apr 10 '14 at 14:49
  • @rogermue see update – msam Apr 10 '14 at 15:14
  • 1
    A perfect confusion: the same name for special sentence types and as name for a special verb form. Not astonishing that learners have difficulties. – rogermue Apr 10 '14 at 15:27

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