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Hi all,

While I'm reading in the posters' threads. I come across the following structure:

"Were there not good hospitals, sufficient methods and vaccines, they would die~."

"Were this not to happen, people would probably be ignorant about what to do~."

1) Does it have the same meaning as "if...,then" and "when"? Such as, to say:

"When there are no good hospitals, sufficient methods and vaccines, they(people) would die~."

"If there were no good hospitals, sufficient methods and vaccines, then they would probably die~."


2) What is it called in English?

3) Can I use the structure above in an affirmation instead of negation?

4) Can I use the structure above in the Present Tense? Like to say, "Is this not to happen, ~"


I think I usually see such structure in questions, e.x. Were you there? Were there good hospitals? But it's obvious that it's not the case with the senescence above.



Thanks in advance

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anonymous

"Were there not good hospitals, sufficient methods and vaccines, they would die~."

"Were this not to happen, people would probably be ignorant about what to do~."

1) Does it have the same meaning as "if...,then" and "when"?

The underlined portions are alternate ways of constructing the if-clause of a second conditional sentence. (Not when-clauses.)

If there were not good hospitals, ...
If this did not happen, people ...

anonymous2) What is it called in English?

It's an alternate way of constructing the if-clause of a conditional. (That's not a technical term. It's just what it is.)

anonymous3) Can I use the structure above in an affirmation instead of negation?

No problem.

Were the lights to go out, ... = If the lights went out, ...

anonymous4) Can I use the structure above in the Present Tense? Like to say, "Is this not to happen, ~"

No. That changes it to a first conditional. See the chart below.

anonymousI think I usually see such structure in questions, e.x. Were you there? Were there good hospitals? But it's obvious that it's not the case with the senescence above.

No. Those are simple questions, not if-clauses in conditionals.


Here are various ways of expressing the if-clause in conditional statements (first, second, and third types). The most usual form is shown first in each section. Those shown in parentheses are somewhat rare.

1. If he goes there alone, ...
= If he should go there alone, ...
= Should he go there alone, ...
2. If he went there alone, ...
= If he were to go there alone, ...
= Were he to go there alone, ...
= (If he should go there alone, ... )
= (Should he go there alone, ... )
3. If he had gone there alone, ...
= Had he gone there alone, ...

CJ

Comments  

It's interesting! I think it would help a lot in writing essays especially that we use if.., then clause frequently.

Thanks a lot for the informative answer.