"I would feel happy if we become friends." (become)


"I would feel happy if we became friends." (became)


"I would feel happy if we were to become friends." (were to become)

Update: or

"I would feel happy if we could become friends." (could become)

Perhaps related, I noticed a comment on another answer saying that imperatives are always in present tense. Is "become" an imperative in the examples above?

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    In Run this definition so that the previous changes become visible, the imperative word is Run. (The imperative is always in the present tense refers to become as opposed to became. If become here were the imperative, the command would be Become visible! The imperative verb is preceeded by the assumed subject you (singular or plural). – anongoodnurse Sep 17 '14 at 2:23
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    Imperatives are headed by the base form (i.e. plain form) of a verb -- not by a present tense form of a verb. This can be seen when the verb BE is used. That is, the imperative is NOT in present-tense. – F.E. Sep 17 '14 at 2:35
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    @medica Yes, one can. That's the plain form (or the base form), which is identical with the lexical base of the verb. The plain form is used in the following constructions: infinitival, subjunctive, imperative. Consider: "Somebody at the front write their name on the board" -- which is an imperative with a 3rd person subject. Imperatives use only the plain form (never a present-tense form). – F.E. Sep 17 '14 at 4:48
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    !!! Honestly, I have never thought of a 3rd person imperative, and have tried to imagine it on occasion. Very interesting, and explains well why it has to be the plain form. So, someone was not quite correct in saying become in the example "Run..." is present tense. Or I misunderstood. In any case, again, I never fail to learn something about language when you're around. Thanks! – anongoodnurse Sep 17 '14 at 5:42
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    @F.E., medica, semantax. I think it's easiest to see, as you said F.E., with imperatives that use BE. For example, we don't say Are quiet! or Are sensible!*, but Be quiet and Be sensible. There's not really any meaningful way here to say that BE agrees with you or anything like that :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Sep 17 '14 at 11:20

You are suggesting a conditional (hypothetical) type of pairing. The usual example starts with the if phrase:

If we were to become friends, I would be very happy.

Reversed, it still holds it's form.

I would be very happy if we were to become friends.

The other sentences are certainly understandable, and basically mean the same thing. But there are some guidelines.

  • I will be happy if we become friends.
  • I would be happy if we became friends.

I don't know anything about the need for imperatives. The imperative might look like this:

BE happy if we become friends! (strange command)
Eat your dinner if you want to grow up! (common command)

  • +1 thank you. Re the imperative I (perhaps incorrectly) meant the "we become friends" part as the imperative and thus "become" in present tense. But that probably doesn't make sense so please ignore it. – semantax Sep 17 '14 at 2:12

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