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Hello!
Could you possibly tell me whether in a conditional sentence with a relative clause, such as i.e.:
'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth that ______ (chew) the grass."
I should put the word "chew" with would (would chew) or in the past simple tense (chewed)?
I'd be really glad with your response.
Best regards
Mikolaj
Comments  
Hi,

Although I am not a specialist, I would go with the 'would chew', just because is the same tense as 'I'd have to have ...' part.
Hi guys,
Could you possibly tell me whether in a conditional sentence with a relative clause, such as i.e.:
'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth that __ (chew) the grass."
I should put the word "chew" with would (would chew) or in the past simple tense (chewed)?
I'd be really glad with your response.

'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth that could chew the grass."
ie 'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth that were able to chew the grass."
ie 'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth that were capable of chewing the grass."

But if you were a cow, you'd already have such teeth. And a tail. And 4 legs. etc.
Best wishes, Clive

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Thanks a lot for your response. I've got one more question
I.e. in a sentence such as:
"If I were you, I would become a teacher, who ____ children."
should I put "would teach" or "tought"?
And, in general, could you tell me whether ,when there's a sentence like this - a conditional one, but with the second part divided into relative clauses - we should use "would" or the past tense in the inferior relative clause?
Hi, Wouldn't these be correct?

'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth that I could chew the grass with"
'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth that I was (were??) able to chew the grass with."
'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth with which I was (were??) capable of chewing the grass."

Hi,
I've got one more question
I.e. in a sentence such as:

"If I were you, I would become a teacher, who __ children."

should I put "would teach" or "taught"? Just use past tense.

And, in general, could you tell me whether ,when there's a sentence like this - a conditional one, but with the second part divided into relative clauses - we should use "would" or the past tense in the inferior relative clause? Generally speaking, just use past tense.

Clive
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Hi,
Wouldn't these be correct?

'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth that I could chew the grass with" OK
'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth that I was (were??) able to chew the grass with." Just say 'was'.
'If I were a cow, I'd have to have special teeth with which I was (were??) capable of chewing the grass." Just say 'was'.

Clive

Some people

And, in general, could you tell me whether ,when there's a sentence like this - a conditional one, but with the second part divided into relative clauses - we should use "would" or the past tense in the inferior relative clause? Generally speaking, just use past tense.
Good question, and a difficult one. I used to have the same doubts, and no one seemed to be able to help me. Now, after having lost a lot of time on it, I think a fixed answer doesn't exist, and it just depends on several factors.

If the ocean were to rise, the water would cover an area around New Orleans that would be as large as 100 football fields put together. (sounds ok with double "would")
If the ocean were to rise, the water would cover an area around New Orleans that was as large as 100 football fields put together. (I really don't like it with the past tense, it hardly makes sense to me)
If I was a millionaire, I would have so much money that I would have a house that would look like Barbie's mansion, with lots of "Barbies" but no Kens. (not really good because of all those "woulds", but it's acceptable to me anyway)
If I was a millionaire, I would have so much money that I would have a house that looked like Barbie's mansion, with lots of "Barbies" but no Kens. (hmm. Not sure)
If I was a millionaire, I would have so much money that I had a house that looked like Barbie's mansion, with lots of "Barbies" but no Kens. (I really don't like this, it hardly makes sense to me)
If I was a millionaire, I would ask Miley Cyrus if she would want to marry me. (Nah, not good)
If I was a millionaire, I would ask Miley Cyrus if she wanted to marry me. (Oh, finally a past tense I like! Ok)
If someone who claimed to be from Mars told me he was going to give me some xitoronumous for free, I would tell him I didn't care. (I like the past tenses here, ok)
If Britney Spears asked me to marry her, I would tell her she was totally not as hot as Miley Cyrus! (Uh-oh! I don't like the past tense here!)
If Britney Spears asked me to marry her, I would tell her she's totally not as hot as Miley Cyrus! (Much better! I like this, present tense)

My explanation:
Repeat "would" whenever you need to talk about something hypothetical.
After reporting verbs (tell, know, think, etc.), the past is ok whenever the fact is so hypothetical that even thougths or words in reported speech are hypothetical. Otherwise, the present is expected. Of course, since it's all about your perception, sometimes more than one option is possible, depending on what exactly you want to say. For example, the last two examples could both be considered ok by someone, but not by me, because my "real" thought is "Miley IS hotter than Britney Spears", and it's not hypothetical.

That's just my opinion on a subject that is very complex. Everyone is free to comment or insult me if I wrote too much baloney. Emotion: smile

PS: If you are Miley and happen to be here, don't contact me for real. Those were just examples to illustrate a grammar point. I don't really mean to marry you, sorry.