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1) If you’re not careful, you can get into even worse trouble.

2) If you’re not careful, you could get into even worse trouble.

What's the difference between 1) and 3), 2) and 4)?

3) You can get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

4) You could get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

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Comments  (Page 2) 
Rizan MalikAnd that's what we do in "zero" conditional (When=whenever). So can I say that depending on context, the modal verbs "can/could", "may/might", "will/would" can all be used in "zero" conditional?

Not 'will/would'. Those create the first and second conditionals, respectively. But the others are possible.

Note that the exercise on zero conditionals at the following website from Oxford University includes these sentences, which comprise fully 50% of the number of sentences in the exercise.

If you leave your bike there, someone could take it.
If you drop the camcorder, it might not work properly.
We might miss the bus if we don't leave now.
If you lend him money, he may not pay you back.

https://elt.oup.com/student/solutions/preint/grammar/grammar_06_022e?cc=us&selLanguage=en

CJ

CalifJim
Rizan MalikAnd that's what we do in "zero" conditional (When=whenever). So can I say that depending on context, the modal verbs "can/could", "may/might", "will/would" can all be used in "zero" conditional?

Not 'will/would'. Those create the first and second conditionals, respectively. But the others are possible.


CJ

OK. So we don't associate the name "zero conditional" with "will/would". But does that mean the following sentences are not generic statements/timeless statements.

11) You will get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

12) You would get into even worse trouble when you are not careful.

If yes (they are not), then OK.


If no (they are generic), then my next question would be:

What's the difference between 12) and 13)?

13) You would get into even worse trouble when you were not careful.

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"conditional" applies only to sentences with "if", and not to sentences with "when", even though you can sometimes treat "when" sentences as analogs to "if" sentences, as you have done in your posts in this thread. I did not expect that you actually considered "when" sentences as conditionals. I should have mentioned this earlier.

Also, the semantic classification of sentences should not be confused with syntactic classification.

Syntactic classification is the only one that 99% of books on grammar use for conditionals, and it goes like this:

First conditional: IF present, WILL ...
Second conditional: IF past, WOULD ...
Third conditional: IF past perfect, WOULD HAVE ...

(And the zero conditional is the one that lacks any WILL or WOULD.)

"when" sentences are not included.


Whether a sentence is generic or not is a matter of semantic classification.

Rizan Malik

OK. So we don't associate the name "zero conditional" with "will/would". But does that mean the following sentences are not generic statements/timeless statements.

11) You will get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

12) You would get into even worse trouble when you are not careful.

No, it doesn't mean that these are not generic.

Rizan MalikWhat's the difference between 12) and 13)?
12) You would get into even worse trouble when you are not careful.
13) You would get into even worse trouble when you were not careful.

This brings us to a point I wanted to mention earlier, but it would have gone off onto a confusing tangent, so I saved any discussion of it in case you asked exactly this kind of question.

All of your groups of four sentences have a "would" with "when" and a present tense. This is not a natural combination. Actually, it's not a very good combination when you change "when" to "if" either.


The pattern in 13) makes more sense. It features the use of "would" as a signal of past time. Here "would" is equivalent to "used to".

13a) You used to get into even worse trouble when you were not careful.

CJ

CalifJim

CJ

Thank you. Just one more question:

Consider these generic (timeless) statements:

1) You can get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

2) You could get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

3) You may get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

4) You might get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.


Since they're all general statements, what's the difference between 1) and 2), 3) and 4)?

Rizan Malikdifference between 1) and 2), 3) and 4)?

It's the usual difference between 'can' and 'could', namely that 'could' is more tentative (less certain) than 'can', and the usual difference between 'may' and 'might', namely that, although 'may' and 'might' have the same meaning, 'may' is a higher register word (a little more formal), and 'might' is a lower register word (a little less formal).

CJ

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CalifJim
Rizan MalikWhat's the difference between 12) and 13)?
12) You would get into even worse trouble when you are not careful.
13) You would get into even worse trouble when you were not careful.

This brings us to a point I wanted to mention earlier, but it would have gone off onto a confusing tangent, so I saved any discussion of it in case you asked exactly this kind of question.

All of your groups of four sentences have a "would" with "when" and a present tense. This is not a natural combination. Actually, it's not a very good combination when you change "when" to "if" either.



CJ

Sorry I didn't get the underlined sentence above. Which groups and which four sentences?

It turns out there were fewer groups than I remembered.

1) If you’re not careful, you can get into even worse trouble.
2) If you’re not careful, you could get into even worse trouble.
3) You can get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.
4) You could get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

9) If you’re not careful, you will get into even worse trouble.
10) If you’re not careful, you would get into even worse trouble.
11) You will get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.
12) You would get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

It's the boldface examples I was mostly referring to. They aren't very idiomatic English. The example in italics is not good either.

CJ

CalifJim

It turns out there were fewer groups than I remembered.

1) If you’re not careful, you can get into even worse trouble.
2) If you’re not careful, you could get into even worse trouble.
3) You can get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.
4) You could get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.
9) If you’re not careful, you will get into even worse trouble.
10) If you’re not careful, you would get into even worse trouble.
11) You will get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.
12) You would get into even worse trouble when you're not careful.

It's the boldface examples I was mostly referring to. They aren't very idiomatic English. The example in italics is not good either.

CJ

But the rest, including the sentence below, are OK, right?

You might get into even worse trouble when you are not careful.

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Rizan MalikBut the rest, including the sentence below, are OK, right?

Right.

CJ

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