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Which tense would be most appropriate in next sentence:

"Providing the correct software (to be) available, I should be able to help them with their problems"

I would go for "will be" but I am not too sure about it.

Thanks

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The first part of the sentence is not indicative, but an irrealis mood, meaning it is not real (because the software is not available; knowing software developers, it may never be).

This is a good place for the subjunctive. (Takes a step back, waiting for the Winter Bash to turn into a snowball fight.)

I might phrase the sentence as:

"Providing the correct software were available, I should be able to help them with their problems."

Note that Microsoft Word gives me a green squiggle under "were" for my questionable use of the archaic, moribund, and generally unfashionable use of the subjunctive.

You could also say:

"Providing the correct software would become available, I should be able to help them with their problems."

Microsoft Word does not object. Nor, I hope, those poised with snowballs on EL&U.

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In this case I would use "will be" if the correct software wasn't available right now and "is" if it was.

  • But if you have to fill in the blank, what would you choose? Thanks – Zeya Van Noten Dec 15 '15 at 19:55
  • I would choose "is" – osukono Dec 15 '15 at 19:58
  • And would you have a grammatical explanation for that? Because i was told that present simple only refers to a timetable future – Zeya Van Noten Dec 15 '15 at 20:01
  • If it is used as a future tense – Zeya Van Noten Dec 15 '15 at 20:02

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