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Today I asked my teacher of English about Conditional 1. I wanted to know what the difference between those two sentences was.

"If you have finished your work, you can have a break" and "If you finish your work, you can have a break."

He answered me:

If someone tell somebody "If you have finished your work, you can have a break," the employee has to finish his work first and then he can have a break.

And if someone tell somebody "If you finish your work, you can have a break" and employee says "Yes, I'll finish it certainly," the employee can have a break now, but he has to finish his work before fixed moment in the future.

Is it true? I add that my teacher teaches me British grammar.
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Do you have the impression that he's a native British speaker?
konrad If someone tell somebody "If you have finished your work, you can have a break," the employee has to finish his work first and then he can have a break. This has nothing to do with the future. It involves no promise that if the employee finishes his work in the future, he may then take his break.
Your sentences simply says, "if A, then B." That's all. If you have finished, you can have a break. (We assume it means "have a break now.")

The version you describe would be, "When you finish / have finished your work, you can have a break." (We assume "have a break then.")

And if someone tell somebody "If you finish your work, you can have a break" and employee says "Yes, I'll finish it certainly," the employee can have a break now, but he has to finish his work before fixed moment in the future. The sentence assumes that the work at this moment is not finished. If you finish your work at some unspecified time in the future, you can have a break. (We must assume that you may have the break at the time your work is finished.)

The version you describe would be something like, "You may take a break now, provided you promise that you will have completed your work by the end of your shift." I'm not knowledgeable about conditional types, and can't say to what extent these examples reflect the requirements of type one.

But I'm quite confident the explanations of the sentences quoted here are incorrect, and that my substitutes are okay.

Best regards, - A.

Edit. "If someone tell somebody" is unusual, but I believe it's the correct subjunctive usage. It would be more modern to say, "If someone tells somebody etc."
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konrad... the difference between ...

"If you have finished your work, you can have a break" and "If you finish your work, you can have a break."
If you are already at the point (now) where your work is finished, you can have a break.
If you come to the point (in the future) where your work is finished, you can have a break.
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konrad if someone tells somebody "If you finish your work, you can have a break" and employee says "Yes, I'll finish it certainly," the employee can have a break now, but he has to finish his work before fixed moment in the future.
Not true. No. Or, rather, it would be rare for someone to say this with that meaning in mind. Native speakers would almost certainly say, "If you promise to finish your work later, you can have a break now" if that, indeed, is what they mean.

CJ
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Comments  
One is simply in past tense, and the other in present (which is obvious, no?). However, both can be interpreted as meaning the same thing. If the employer was attempting to say that you must have your work finished before you can have a break, then they would have implied so specifically. To automatically assume that, "If you finish your work, you can have a break" means you can have a break before finishing your work I think that you would have the potential of getting into trouble with your employer.

Granted, I live in Oregon, on the west coast of the U.S. It's all contextual of course, however definitely understand that it cannot be assumed that "If you finish your work, you can have a break" alone, cannot be interpreted as allowing you to take a break before you finish your work, because it assumes that your 'work' is not continuous, that there is a definitive end to this idea. Due to this, you must assume that, "If you finish your work, you can have a break", indicates a 'work' that has a specified end. Using 'your' in this instance, specifies this as a temporary situation. You also cannot say, "If you finish work, you can have a break". Therefore, because it is specific only in nature, it indicates that you must finish your work first, before you can have a break.

However, it can also be interpretable as, "If you finish your work (generally meaning, you are a good employee and tend to get your work (general again), done), you can have a break".

That would be the main question. Is the first part of the statement contextually stated to mean that you are hypothetically a good worker, and if that is the case, then yes it would mean take your break now if you wish. However, if it is primally conditional, then it means you must have your work (indicating a specific project) done, before you can take a break.
 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
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