# Exchanging the two clauses in an if sentence

Is it possible for me to exchange the main clause & the if clause in an "if" sentence? For example: Can "If you go to school, you will definitely be able to meet her" be changed into "If you want to meet her, go to school"?

• Yes, of course. Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 17:21
• In mathematics, we call that the "converse". The converse of "if P then Q" is "if Q then P". Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 17:23

Yes, this is possible. However, you should be careful that when restructuring these sentences they still make sense (especially when there are negatives involved). For example:

"If you study, you will ace the exam."

Is rearranged into:

"If you ace the exam, you studied."

Which may not be accurate as it is possible to ace an easy exam without studying.

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For a negative example:

"If you do not study, you will fail your test."

If we were to exchange the main clause and the if clause, the sentence could look like:

"If you fail your test, you did not study."

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This statement may not make sense in the situation, since it is possible to study and still fail an exam.

It is always best to think through a conditional sentence when rearranging the order to ensure that the answers are still accurate. For the examples above, I would suggest adding the adverb "maybe" per the following:

"If you failed your test, maybe you didn't study."

"If you aced the exam, maybe you studied hard."

• I think the OP just wanted to know if the protasis and the apodosis can be reversed, which in general is possible. Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 17:55
• Welcome to English Language and Usage. Please take the tour and when you have a moment, read-up in the help center about how we work. The in-depth examples you provide are terrific, next time think of adding an autoritative reference if one is to be found. Enthusiastic first post. +1 Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 18:37