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I have a question about the use of the subjunctive in this sentence: If all the schools were to implement this program, which now exists only in the lower grades, then five years from now we will not have parents complaining that their teen-aged children still can't read.

There are a lot of internet examples that follow this pattern. Example: If that were to happen, then we will take appropriate action.

Would it be better to substitute "would" for "will" in both examples, or "should" for "were to"?

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  • "should" is not a substitute for "were to". You could instead say "If all the schools implemented this scheme ..." - This is still subjunctive and so you still need "would" later on. – chasly - supports Monica Nov 23 '20 at 23:01
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I would go with one of two sentences, but mixing the two like this isn't correct. Either:

"If all the schools were to implement this program, which now exists only in the lower grades, then five years from now we would not have parents complaining that their teen-aged children still can't read."

Or: "If all the schools implement this program, which now exists only in the lower grades, then five years from now we will not have parents complaining that their teen-aged children still can't read." (remove were to)

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