In the following sentence:

We need to approach the two experts and convince them to help. Their contribution will be huge and will advance this field in the company."

Regarding the latter half, seeing as the alleged contribution is hypothetical (assumes that it is given at an unknown point), shouldn't it be:

"Their contribution would be huge and could advance this field in the company."

Thanks in advance!


would is a more polite way of framing this, acknowledging that the experts may not be approachable or convinced. But will is also acceptable if you want to push a strong case, not even leaving open the option that the experts wont help.

  • Well, the writer is trying to make a very strong case for getting their involvement, but at the same time, it's apparently highly unlikely that one of the two actually could get involved (probably what fueled my confusion to begin with)... – Tom Jul 18 '15 at 23:13
  • If they know it's unlikely, then the writer could end up looking a bit silly stating the experts participation as fact. To leave some wriggle room, I would say something like If they agree, their contribution will be huge and will advance this field in the company. – Kim Ryan Jul 18 '15 at 23:19
  • 1
    What about "Once involved, their contribution will..."? – Tom Jul 18 '15 at 23:31
  • Yes, but it seems to again imply the experts commitment, which you mention is not that certain. Maybe If one or both contribute, it will be a huge benefit and will advance this field in the company. This way you allow for the known fact that one wants to opt out. – Kim Ryan Jul 18 '15 at 23:52

You have written a conditional statement and in doing so, have created a conditional and subjunctive mood. Even though there are no IFs in your sentence, it's possible, in this mood, to use them and you would then have to conjugate for the subjunctive.

You are correct

Conditional statements require conditional conjugation.

  • Thank you! Though just so i'm clear on the point, there's no actual problem utilizing either option for referencing a future hypothetical like in this sentence, right? – Tom Jul 18 '15 at 23:16
  • Hypothetical is just that, hypothetical, not real, not a fact. The conditional tense is required. edufind.com/english-grammar/conditional – dockeryZ Jul 18 '15 at 23:24
  • Sorry, but this isn't true for all conditional statements. Conditionals that are uncertain or statements contrary to fact take the subjunctive mood. Conditionals that are definitional, don't: "If a triangle is a right triangle, then the sum of the areas of the squares on the sides equals the area of the square on the hypotenuse." – deadrat Jul 19 '15 at 1:48
  • I don't follow you @deadrat. I mentioned in my answer that with a conditional mood IFs are possible. And you have given an example using one – dockeryZ Jul 19 '15 at 1:55
  • @dockeryZ Part of this may be terminology. I don't regard modal changes (will->would, can->could, etc.) as a separate "mood" since the main verb doesn't change form. The contingent clause of conditional sentences may be in the indicative mood (like my example from Euclid) or the subjunctive mood. – deadrat Jul 19 '15 at 2:29

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