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10 votes
Accepted

Is "did" used conditionally, regionally or otherwise? e.g. "Did you want..." instead of "Would you want..."

This use of the past is called "attitudinal past" in A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Quirk et al.); the present can be used but the past introduces an element of politeness. ...
LPH's user avatar
  • 21.8k
3 votes

What part of a subjunctive sentence is actually in the subjunctive?

The three occurrences of "were" are cases of the were-subjunctive. The occurrence of "had" has to do with hypothetical fact also, and does not represent a true use of the past in ...
LPH's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

I would like to understand a sentence in 'The Catcher in the Rye'

He's indicating he's dying. From the preceding paragraph (emphasis mine) The minute I went in, I was sort of sorry I’d come. He was reading the Atlantic Monthly, and there were pills and medicine all ...
Machavity's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

Does "If someone should do" stand for "if by any chance someone does" or "if by any chance someone did"?

"If you should find that book, could you keep it for me?" refers to the future. So it can only mean "If, by any chance, you find that book, could you keep it for me?" As for "...
Shoe's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

Is it ever grammatically correct to use "hadn't had + V3"?

No, it's never grammatically correct to use hadn't had, plus an additional past participle. There is no such construction. Hadn't had occurs, because had is already a past participle and together they ...
John Lawler's user avatar
2 votes

The subjunctive in a hypothetical scenario of a historical event

This is an imagined condition in the past which can never come to happen now. Normally, for such situations the third conditional is used: We use the third conditional when we imagine a different ...
fev's user avatar
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2 votes

Acceptability of concessive parenthetical if clause

A more conventional organization might be: They might build a community that could at least make the workplace more bearable, even if it could not change the depressing nature of the work. However, ...
DW256's user avatar
  • 9,090
2 votes

Whom can I trust, if not ____. a) he b) him which one is grammatical?

That the first sentence uses "he" has nothing to do with the conditional, but about the correct complement of the verb to be. (To be clear, were is the past subjunctive of to be.) There is ...
phoog's user avatar
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2 votes
Accepted

"provided that there be" vs. "provided that there is"

According to Huddleston & Pullum (2002), using the subjunctive with words like provided that (as in "provided that there be") is valid, but rare; they say that "it belongs to formal ...
alphabet's user avatar
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2 votes
Accepted

Dependent clause comma (Following an independent clause)

The clause after the second comma (surely . . .) is actually an independent clause. You can tell because it doesn’t start with a subordinator or function as a component of another clause. Surely they ...
GrammarCop's user avatar
1 vote

Mid-sentence phrase where you need 1 of 2 things but could also have both as well

You might be looking for the phrase if not both. Here's an example sentence from NYT: Joseph Parilla, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, warned that perceptions of ...
alphabet's user avatar
  • 18.9k
1 vote

Two Infinitives in a Row, but Dropping “To”?

The majority of verbs with infinitival complements take to-infinitives, like try, plan, and want. However, a number of very commonly-used verbs, like can and will, take bare infinitives (without the ...
alphabet's user avatar
  • 18.9k
1 vote

Reality or unreality-if you had seen the notices next day in all the papers, you must have supposed my evening's entertainment an unqualified success

It's not really a conditional in this context, because "you" is not referring specifically to the audience, but refers to people in general. Another, more modern way of phrasing it would be ...
Barmar's user avatar
  • 21.1k
1 vote

Is this sentence is a conditional? "Marta on if she would ever make a tinder account"

"Marta on if she would ever make a tinder account" This is not a sentence and it is a title. It is not conditional. It is a fragment. It is of a style used in headlines and titles. Nouns, ...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 42.5k
1 vote

Conditional from past perspective: "They realized that if X WAS . . ." or "They realized that if X WERE . . ."?

I agree with alphabet's comment that the question is about tense. Let's put the sentences into the present tense, as statements which are going to be reported: We realize that if the threat is not ...
Andrew Leach's user avatar
  • 102k
1 vote
Accepted

Express an uncertain action in the past using conditionals

There is a lot to unpack here. First of all, not all the cases you presented fall under the same conditional. There are four conditionals in English, from the zeroth to the third. When you are talking ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 1,036
1 vote

The subjunctive in a hypothetical scenario of a historical event

When the piano [to start] playing Bohemian Rhapsody, I would get goosebumps. When the piano started playing to play Bohemian Rhapsody, I would get goosebumps. "When the piano started to play ...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 42.5k
1 vote

The subjunctive in a hypothetical scenario of a historical event

If I were able to travel back into the past in a time machine, I'd go back to a Queen concert. I would get goosebumps when the piano started playing Bohemian Rhapsody. I can attest that the above is ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 21.4k
1 vote

The subjunctive in a hypothetical scenario of a historical event

There's an understood if-clause: [If I'd been at such a concert,] I'd have got goosebumps when / as soon as the piano started playing Bohemian Rhapsody. I'd say that this is the more likely deletion,...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
1 vote

Timing of adverb after conditional

The sentence doesn't really make sense as given; the main verb needs to be in the future tense: Should you decide to decline the offer, the contract will be terminated effective immediately. ...
alphabet's user avatar
  • 18.9k
1 vote

If and Whether - or not? Interrogative and Conditional words

German "ob" as long as it could be "whether" in English Perhaps we can learn from an outer view here and check the traits of "if" and "whether" in Germanic ...
questionto42's user avatar

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