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Hi teachers,

A: You are smart at giving speech. I wondered how come you don't join a school committee?

B: Coz if I got on a committee, I'd miss my afternoon shows.

Question: Is what B saying a type 2 unreal situation?

Thanks

TN

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tinanam0102Is it a type 2 conditional?

Yes, it is.

Type 2: IF [past tense], ... WOULD ....

'd is the contraction for 'would'.

if I gotpast on a committee, I'dwould miss my afternoon shows.


As for it being unreal, don't take the word 'unreal' too seriously. It's more like saying that if you use a Type 1 conditional, the situation in the if-clause is fairly likely to occur because it's about something actually happening in real life that the speaker has a personal connection to, and if you use a Type 2, the speaker is just speculating about things that might not happen at all.

CJ

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Hi CalifJim,

Thanks for your help.

A non-native like me would doubt that it is a Type 1 conditional in past tense where B is back-shifting. Because "get" becomes "got" and "will", "would".

How can we tell them apart?

Compare

1. She makes herself right at home, and helps herself to my food. If she wasn't in the living room, she would be taking long shower in the bathroom.

To

Describing it in past tense.

2. She made herself right at home, and helped herself to my food. If she wasn't in the living room, she would be taking long shower in the bathroom.

Thanks

TN

tinanam0102A non-native like me would doubt (think?) that it is a Type 1 conditional

I'm not following this part. 'doubt' means you do not think that it's a Type 1 conditional, and that is correct: It is not a Type 1 conditional. As I explained, it is a Type 2 conditional.


The second sentence in both examples is a Type 2 conditional. This is determined just by the pattern I gave you above. The rest of the context makes no difference in the classification of the conditional sentence.

In my opinion both of those examples are somewhat anomalous, though not exactly wrong. You will find these slight variants fairly often. If I were telling that little story, I would use the following:

Present:

She makes herself right at home and helps herself to my food. If she isn't in the living room, she's taking a long shower in the bathroom. (Zero conditional)

Past:

She made herself right at home and helped herself to my food. If she wasn't in the living room, she was taking a long shower in the bathroom. (Zero conditional backshifted)

CJ

Hi CalifJim,

I'm so sorry I meant I think it is a Type 1 conditional but told in past tense.

When we are reading a story written in past tense, if there's a Type 1 conditional, it will backshift and look exactly like Type 2. So how can you tell them apart, which is which?

The private couldn't wait until his captain and the boy finished their conversation to report what he had seen. They'd be all eliminated if he did

1. They'd be all eliminated if he did. Is it a type 2 conditional? or it's the past tense of They will be all eliminated if he does? My observation is leaning toward Type 2.

2. I understand type 2 conditional can also used as "advice", so it sounds more indirect and maybe polite?


Thanks

TN

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
tinanam01021. They'd be all eliminated if he did. Is it a type 2 conditional? or it's the past tense of They will be all eliminated if he does? My observation is leaning toward Type 2.

The determination of what kind of conditional you are dealing with is a simple matter of examining a single sentence for one of these patterns:

IF ... present, ... WILL .... (Type 1)
IF ... past, ... WOULD ... (Type 2)
IF ... HAD (+past participle) ..., ... WOULD HAVE (+past participle) .... (Type 3)

You can say that They'd be all eliminated if he did is a Type 2 conditional.

And you can say that They'd be all eliminated if he did is a backshifted Type 1.

That's two different ways of saying the same thing, except that the second way of saying it is more complicated, so nobody says it like that.

tinanam0102When we are reading a story written in past tense, if there's a Type 1 conditional, it will backshift and look exactly like Type 2. So how can you tell them apart, which is which?

A Type 2 conditional is exactly that: a backshift of a Type 1. There is no need to think of a Type 2 conditional as something different from a backshift of a Type 1 conditional.


It doesn't matter whether the story is written in the present tense (less usual) or in the past tense (normal). The names for the conditional sentences do not change. They are named only for the patterns shown above.


If you are concerned about backshifting conditionals for the purposes of reported speech (indirect speech), you can report a first conditional as a second conditional:

Tom said, "If I win a million dollars, I will buy a mansion".
As reported speech:
Tom said that if he won a million dollars, he would buy a mansion.

OR you can report a first conditional as a first conditional. (No change.)
Tom said that if he wins a million dollars, he will buy a mansion.

_____________

And you report a second conditional as a second conditional. (No change.)

Tom said, "If I won a million dollars, I would buy a mansion".
As reported speech:
Tom said that if he won a million dollars, he would buy a mansion.

tinanam01022. I understand type 2 conditional can also used as "advice", so it sounds more indirect and maybe polite?

Yes, but that's a completely different topic. Those are normally prefaced by "If I were you": If I were you, I would not jump off that cliff. But the "If I were you" is very, very often omitted: I would not jump off that cliff.

CJ

Hi CalifJim,

Thanks again.

We were taught reading past tense stores growing up. I found it hard to tell them apart. Most of the time native speakers would use a Type 2 conditional while English learners would use Type 1. I can remotely tell one is when the story is told in narrative present or in conversations, like the girl helps herself to my food. Please bear with me. Just from a learning perspective here:


A: You are so smart at giving speech. I wondered how come you don't join a committee?

B: Coz If I got on a committee, I'd miss my afternoon shows.


1. A used "I wondered" in past tense with "don't", is it common?

2. Is the following natural and correct to ask? And also elicit the type 2 conditional?

2a. I wonder how come you don't ....?

2b. I wondered how come you don't join a committee already?

2c. I wondered how come you didn't join a committee already?

2c. I wondered how come you're not joining a committee?



Thanks

TN

tinanam0102

A: You are so smart at giving speech. I wondered how come you don't join a committee.

B: Coz if I got on a committee, I'd miss my afternoon shows.
(To show that abbreviated pronunciation of 'because', write 'Cause if I got ....)

tinanam01021. A used "I wondered" in past tense with "don't", is it common?

More idiomatically, "I was wondering". I'd say it's the past of politeness. You might even think of it as a substitute for the present tense. So in this situation, the present form "don't" is perfectly fine. (Other tenses are not wrong either.)

I was wondering why you don't join a committee.
I was wondering where you go for lunch.
I was wondering if it's time to have the kitchen painted.

These patterns are fairly common. Yes.

tinanam0102

2. Is the following natural and correct to ask? And also elicit the type 2 conditional?

2a. I wonder how come you don't ..... Yes. Yes.

2b. I (wondered) was wondering how come you don't join a committee already.

'already' works better with the present perfect:
I was wondering how come you haven't joined a committee already.

2c. I (wondered) was wondering how come you didn't join a committee (already).
'already' is just possible with the past, but I'd omit it here.

2c. I (wondered) was wondering how come you're not joining a committee. OK.

As shown above.

Note that stating that you wonder something is not a question. No question mark at the end.

tinanam0102Most of the time native speakers would use a Type 2 conditional while English learners would use Type 1.

Both types refer to situations in present time. Only Type 3 refers to past-time situations.

The native speakers you're talking about are probably more focused on whether the situation is realistically something that could happen (type 1) or whether the situation is only imagined or envisioned as a remote possibility (type 2).

The English learners are probably more focused on something else — maybe on matching tenses in the conditional sentence with the surrounding tenses in the story. These learners haven't yet mastered the idea that the type 2 conditional relates to present time even though it contains the past tense. (I don't know. These are just my best guesses about why this happens.)

CJ

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Hi CalifJim,

Thank you so much.

1. I was wondering how come you didn't join a committee (already). Would it be weird to say:

Cause if I'd gotten on one, I'd miss my afternoon shows.

2. I was wondering where you go for lunch. Does the present tense mean like "I was wondering where you usually go for lunch"?

Thank you

TN

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