0

My problem is that I was taught (I think wrongly) that whenever a conditional sentence refers to past, there should be past perfect tense in the if clause, as in example 1.

Example 1:

If you hadn't broken the vase, you wouldn't have angered your parents.
[He broke the vase, no doubt about it.]

But is example 2 still a conditional sentence, and is it correct?

Example 2:

If you didn't break the vase, who did?

We're still referring to past, but we don't really know whether he did it or not.

Is this an example of a conditional sentence? Why or why not? How do I recognize a "past" conditional sentence?

0

Example 2 means

If you didn't break the vase, then I ask you who did?

The condition is on the speech act of questioning. If you did break the vase, than I needn't ask. Compare:

If you don't mind my asking, who broke the vase?

The condition here is also a condition on my asking the question. This is a general formula -- to be polite, you mention conditions that might make it inappropriate to ask a question.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.