# If/When You’Re Not Careful, You Could/Can Get Into Even Worse Trouble?

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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.

Rizan Malikdifference between 1) and 3)

It's simply the difference between the meanings of 'if' and 'when', but that difference is more or less neutralized in the given context.

The 'if' version hints at a future about which one should be cautious; the 'when' version sounds more like advice based on past experience.

The same relationship exists between 2) and 4).

CJ

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CalifJim
Rizan Malikdifference between 1) and 3)

It's simply the difference between the meanings of 'if' and 'when', but that difference is more or less neutralized in the given context.

The 'if' version hints at a future about which one should be cautious; the 'when' version sounds more like advice based on past experience.

The same relationship exists between 2) and 4).

CJ

You say: "The 'if' versions hints at a future about which one should be cautious; the 'when' versions sounds more like advice based on past experience."

Q1: Suppose only the "if" versions (1,2) are given. Can they also imply the meanings of "when" versions (3,4)? I mean if = when?

Q2: Can the "when-clauses" in 3) and 4) refer to the future?

You can get into even worse trouble when you're not careful in the future.

You could get into even worse trouble when you're not careful in the future.

Rizan MalikQ1: Suppose only the "if" versions (1,2) are given. Can they also imply the meanings of "when" versions (3,4)? I mean if = when?

No. I wouldn't say that there is any implication of that kind here — 'suggestion' perhaps, but not 'implication'.

Rizan MalikQ2: Can the "when-clauses" in 3) and 4) refer to the future?

In the sense that these are generic statements, and therefore timeless, they refer to the future as much as they refer to the past and the present.

So yes, they refer to the future, but not exclusively to the future.

CJ

Thank you.

CalifJim
Rizan MalikQ2: Can the "when-clauses" in 3) and 4) refer to the future?

In the sense that these are generic statements, and therefore timeless, they refer to the future as much as they refer to the past and the present.

So yes, they refer to the future, but not exclusively to the future.

CJ

OK. So 'if' versions hints at a future about which one should be cautious and "when" versions are generic statements, and therefore timeless.

Q: Does the same relationship between "if" versions and "when" versions exist if we use other modals like "may/might" and "will/would"?

5) If you’re not careful, you may get into even worse trouble.

6) If you’re not careful, you might get into even worse trouble.

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

8) You might 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.

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Rizan MalikQ: Does the same relationship between "if" versions and "when" versions exist if we use other modals like "may/might" and "will/would"?

Sure. Why not?

CJ

CalifJim
Rizan MalikQ: Does the same relationship between "if" versions and "when" versions exist if we use other modals like "may/might" and "will/would"?

Sure. Why not?

CJ

Thank you. Last question:

In the case of "can/could", you said the "when" versions do not exclusively refer to the future, and they are generic statements (timeless). Would you say the same about the following?

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

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

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.

Rizan MalikWould you say the same about the following?

Yes. Sometimes, and this is one of those times, 'when' is pretty much equivalent to 'whenever'.

You may get into even worse trouble whenever you're not careful.

And so on for the others.

CJ

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CalifJim
Rizan MalikWould you say the same about the following?

Yes. Sometimes, and this is one of those times, 'when' is pretty much equivalent to 'whenever'.

You may get into even worse trouble whenever you're not careful.

And so on for the others.

CJ

And 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?