I'm stumped on how to describe this introductory clause...

"Should you need any help, go to the front desk and ask for assistance"

It's the 'should' and it's use at the beginning of the clause that I'm confused about. I'm not that knowledgable on grammar. I'm pretty sure it's not inversion...is it an introductory adverbial clause? OK, I'm stabbing in the dark now. Can anyone offer any wisdom on how I might describe this introductory clause. Thanks.
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lee wrote on 24 May 2004:
I'm stumped on how to describe this introductory clause... "Should you need any help, go to the front desk and ... I'm confused about. I'm not that knowledgable on grammar. I'm pretty sure it's not inversion...is it an introductory adverbial clause?

No, the first word is a modal auxiliary, "shall/should", a verb, so it cannot be an adverbial clause.
OK, I'm stabbing in the dark now. Can anyone offer any wisdom on how I might describe this introductory clause. Thanks.

Try "British-English subjunctive". It's a hypothetical because of "should".
Another way to say it is "Were you to need any help, you might go to the front desk and ask for assistance"
In American English, it would be "If you need help, please go to the front desk and ask for assistance", and it would be called a "conditional clause" or an "if-clause".

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
lee wrote on 24 May 2004:

I'm stumped on how to describe this introductory clause... "Should ... pretty sure it's not inversion...is it an introductory adverbial clause?

Yes, it is. Specifically, it's a conditional clause, which is a type of adverbial clause. And actually there is inversion working here too: the inversion of the subject (you) and the auxiliary (should) is what makes the clause conditional.
No, the first word is a modal auxiliary, "shall/should", a verb, so it cannot be an adverbial clause.

Wrong again, Franke. You sure use a lot of big words like "modal", "auxiliary", "subjunctive", and "hypothetical"... yet as usual you are totally ignorant of the basic principles of English grammar. You can't even identify a simple adverbial clause!
OK, I'm stabbing in the dark now. Can anyone offer any wisdom on how I might describe this introductory clause. Thanks.

Try "British-English subjunctive". It's a hypothetical because of "should". Another way to say it is "Were you to need any ... go to the front desk and ask for assistance", and it would be called a "conditional clause" or an "if-clause".

Riight... except that "should you need help" is also American English.
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In American English, it would be "If you need help, ... it would be called a "conditional clause" or an "if-clause".

Riight... except that "should you need help" is also American English.

It's American English, all right, but formal to the point of stiltedness.
The simplest way to put this in American English is "If you need help, ask at the front desk."

Bob Lieblich
Still American
Anderew wrote on 24 May 2004:
lee wrote on 24 May 2004:

Yes, it is. Specifically, it's a conditional clause, which is a type of adverbial clause.

Well, it seems that you are terminologically right for once:

"Conditional clauses
"Direct and indirect condition"
(Quirk et al., 15.33, p. 1094)
"Inversion may also occur in a somewhat literary style with subjunctive'were' and tentative 'should'". But "should" is used in BrE where AmE would use "were".
(Ibid., 15.36, p 1094)
And actually there is inversion working here too: the inversion of the subject (you) and the auxiliary (should) is what makes the clause conditional.

No, the first word is a modal auxiliary, "shall/should", a verb, so it cannot be an adverbial clause.

Wrong again, Franke. You sure use a lot of big words like "modal", "auxiliary", "subjunctive", and "hypothetical"...

And I use them correctly.
yet as usual you are totally ignorant of the basic principles of English grammar.

A gross overgeneralization, but it apparently satisfies your need to distinguish yourself in public, so be my guest.
You can't even identify a simple adverbial clause!

I have to plead guilty to a modification of this gross generalization: "You could not identify the clause in question as an adverbial clause".
Try "British-English subjunctive". It's a hypothetical because of "should". Another ... it would be called a "conditional clause" or an "if-clause".

Riight... except that "should you need help" is also American English.

But not likely to be found anywhere but an American literary society or Mensa facility.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Anderew wrote on 24 May 2004:

Riight... except that "should you need help" is also American English.

But not likely to be found anywhere but an American literary society or Mensa facility.

Seems to be pretty common on the web, with no obvious regional bias. Granted, most examples aren't at the beginning of the sentence, as is the case here, but I'm not sure that marks it as a different mode of expression. And yes, "if you need help" is far more common, but again, regardless of region.
Dylan
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Wrong again, Franke. You sure use a lot of big words like "modal", "auxiliary", "subjunctive", and "hypothetical"...

And I use them correctly.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!
If you did use them correctly it was only by accident, since you obviously didn't understand what you were saying. You have NO right to use such a technical vocabulary if you don't even know what an adverbial clause is. Yet you asserted your mistaken conclusion so authoritatively! Now you're struggling hard to save face by quoting Quirk and trying to appear confident. You haven't learned a thing! You know a lot less than you think, Franke but it would cost you a great deal to admit it.

I think you owe the OP an apology.
Dylan Nicholson wrote on 24 May 2004:
Anderew wrote on 24 May 2004: But not likely to be found anywhere but an American literary society or Mensa facility.

Seems to be pretty common on the web, with no obvious regional bias. Granted, most examples aren't at the beginning ... a different mode of expression. And yes, "if you need help" is far more common, but again, regardless of region.

Quirk et al call it literary and I agree. It's not run-of-the-mill AmE and would occur much less frequently than "If you need help" or "If you should need help" in AmE. In a place with a sign for the public, I suspect that most people would use something like "Ask for help at the front desk" or "Go to the front desk for help" or "If you need help. go to the front desk". For anyone who has read a great deal of literature, "Should you need help" is normal English", but it's still more BrE than AmE, and when it is AmE, it sounds a bit pretentious.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
"Anderew" (Email Removed) schrieb im Newsbeitrag

No, I think you owe Franke an apology, not to mention the rest of us who download your posts only to discover that they contain nothing but personal insults.
Franke made a mistake. You pointed it out to him (which is fine) but also used the opportunity to launch a direct attack on him. Franke admitted his error, but apparently that's not good enough for you, and you now launch yet another personal attack. Not very impressive behaviour. And any reply along the lines of "he started it" will result in the total loss of any respect I have for you, not that you care.
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