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Dear teachers,

As usual, I'll ask many questions in one post but you can, of course, answer them at your convenience.

1) Would you please help me finish these clauses ?

a) If you were to give him a chance…
b) If you were to fail …

c) Would it be possible to use the indicative “If you ARE …” in the above clauses ? What difference would it make?

2) How can I make a polite request using “If + will or would”?

If you will / would ….

3) What do you call the mood/tense (?) that follows “would” in the following sentences ?

a) If the Queen died, she would BE SUCCEEDED by her son Charles. (Bare infinitive + past participle ?)

b) If I were rich I would BE LYING in the sun on a tropical island. (Bare infinitive + present participle ??)

c) If it had rained yesterday, there wouldn’t HAVE BEEN many people on the sea shore. (perfect infinitive)

d) If I had not got married, I would still HAVE BEEN LIVING abroad. (perfect infinitive + present participle ??)

4) If our documents had been in order we could have left at once. (“could” here expresses ability or permission or both ?)

5) Why do we use the subjunctive in one sentence and the indicative in the other ?

a) If I WERE riding a bicycle I would be much happier.
(difference with “If I WAS riding a bicycle…”?)

b) If my car WAS working I could / would drive you to the station. (difference with “my car WERE working…”?)

6) Do sentences a) + b) have the same meaning ?

a) If he had been able to see it clearly, he would remember it better. (now)

b) If he could see it clearly, he would remember it better.

c) If he had been able to see it clearly, he would have remembered it better. (then)

I don’t like these examples because their meaning is not clear, would you have better examples of this kind ?

7) a) Are the future and the conditional incompatible with the following expressions ?

unless, except if, provided/providing that, on condition that, as/so long as, suppose/supposing that, what if, in case, if only.

b) would you please give me examples with “except if”?

c) Is it true that “unless” cannot be used in Type 2 conditional and in indirect questions?

What about: “I would not attempt … (what can I say here ?) unless I were sure of succeeding.” ?

Thank you for your patience and understanding!
Best regards,
Hela
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1) Would you please help me finish these clauses ?

a) If you were to give him a chance…
b) If you were to fail …

c) Would it be possible to use the indicative “If you ARE …” in the above clauses ? What difference would it make?

JTT: It's theoretically possible but the more common use is, "If you give him ..." ; "If you fail ..."



2) How can I make a polite request using “If + will or would”?

If you will / would ….

JTT: Both are polite, more so than .

If you would [be so kind as to] {do something}.

, being less polite, is often used when you ask someone to do something while you, at the same time will do something.

If you'll help me with my move, I'll help you with yours.

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4) If our documents had been in order we could have left at once. (“could” here expresses ability or permission or both ?)

JTT: means "possiblity"; it would have been possible. There could be {it's possible} that there is an element of permission in there.



5) Why do we use the subjunctive in one sentence and the indicative in the other ?

a) If I WERE riding a bicycle I would be much happier.
(difference with “If I WAS riding a bicycle…”?)

b) If my car WAS working I could / would drive you to the station. (difference with “my car WERE working…”?)

JTT: ENLs use both forms because both forms have identical meanings. The subjunctive is a remnant of an older system. All subjunctive forms have other forms tha perform the same semantic task. There are differences in levels of formality. For all that is required to form a "subjunctive meaning" is a past tense FORM.

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6) Do sentences a) + b) have the same meaning ?

a) If he had been able to see it clearly, he would remember it better. (now)

b) If he could see it clearly, he would remember it better.

c) If he had been able to see it clearly, he would have remembered it better. (then)

I don’t like these examples because their meaning is not clear, would you have better examples of this kind ?

JTT: Examples a) & c) could have the same meaning, could both refer to the same situation. The focus is just slightly different. Let's do an example to illustrate.

If I were Hela, I would be female. {my focus on the state of being a female}

If I were Hela, I would have been born a female/in Greece/to Mr & Mrs {___}.

{here my focus has shifted to your birth}

As you can see, Hela, the style chosen depends upon the context, what it is that you want to say.



7) a) Are the future and the conditional incompatible with the following expressions ?

unless, except if, provided/providing that, on condition that, as/so long as, suppose/supposing that, what if, in case, if only.

b) would you please give me examples with “except if”?

JTT: At first blush, I don't see why not, Hela, but feeding you examples won't, to my mind be as worthwhile as you making some of your own. That way it will be easier to spot mistakes and rectifiy them.

c) Is it true that “unless” cannot be used in Type 2 conditional and in indirect questions?

What about: “I would not attempt … (what can I say here ?) unless I were sure of succeeding.” ?

JTT: Again, I don't see why "unless" can't be used. There may be some specific reasons for some circumstances.

“I would not attempt it unless I were sure of succeeding.”

“I would not attempt … (what can I say here ) unless I were sure of succeeding.”

JTT:

You can say almost anything here, Hela; language is about the infinite.
Comments  
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
, being less polite, is often used when you ask someone to do something while you, at the same time will do something.

If you'll help me with my move, I'll help you with yours.



Of course, that in no way precludes the use of ,

If you would help me with my move, I would help you with yours.
Thank you JTT for your answers. I'm glad you're back on the forum. I'm saying that because it's a long time since you've answered my questions and so I had the impression that you left us for a while. But I may be wrong... [:^)] , or should I use Emotion: rolleyes ? What's the meaning of this last smiley by the way?

I'll give you my feed back once I've studied / I will have studied (??) all your comments.
See you,
Hela
Dear teachers,

1) Which form do you prefer best ?

a) If I were/was (?) named Paul, I would be male.
b) If I wasn't / weren’t (?) afraid of spiders, I would have picked it up.

2) Is my sentence correct ?

I would not attempt to jump from an airplane unless I were sure of succeeding in opening my parachute.

See you,
Hela
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
1) Which form do you prefer [best]?

JTT: No 'best' with prefer, Hela. Use 'best' with like.

Which form do you like best?

JTT:In order to determine how language works, Hela, it is not a great idea to ask for personal preferences, especially from a prescriptivist.Emotion: wink

Do you know how to do a specific Google search? Why don'r you try to do this? Of course it's not likely that you'll get a hit for a full sentence, but if you do a limited structure search, it'll give you an idea of the numbers anyway

a) If I were/was (?) named Paul, I would be male.

Search: If I was AND THEN If I were

b) If I wasn't / weren’t (?) afraid of spiders, I would have picked it up.

Search: If I wasn't AND THEN If I weren't

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2) Is my sentence correct ?

I would not attempt to jump from an airplane unless I were sure of succeeding in opening my parachute.

JTT: Try these ones too - unless I were sure AND THEN unless I was sure

Report back to all of us, Hela. I'm interested in the results