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Greetings everyone, my nickname is zhouyu.my and I have question about long subjunctive cases.
Often I hear people use short subjunctive cases in daily life. And I too, use short subjunctive cases in daily life without much problem. I can also write subjunctive cases essay, which is not a problem to me because you always have time to correct your tenses.
The problem I am having is, how do we speak and think fluently with long subjunctive cases in daily life at the speed of thought. Following examples might as well as displaying my problem:

(Formal essay)
1) If I were the president of this country I would watch my back very closely. Espionages among the Senates are already a common practice and I wouldn't know who would be there silently plotting against me and I sure wouldn't know how many daggers were there pointing at my back. Power struggling would always be my worry and I sure wouldn't know how long I could be in power. Since I already had the greatest power a man could have in this country, I think I would do some things that I have always wanted to do and I sure would have no problem getting rid of my current or even future rivals. As the president of this country, I think I would try my best to make everyone to feel content...

(Informal speech)
2) If I were the president of this country I would watch my back very closely. Espionages among the Senates are already a common practice and I don't know who will be there silently plotting against me and I sure don't know how many daggers are there pointing at my back. Power struggling will always be my worry and I sure don't know how long I can be in power. Since I already have the greatest power a man can have in this country, I think I will do some things that I have always wanted to do and I sure will have no problem getting rid of my current or even future rivals. As the president of this country, I think I will try my best to improve the economy of this country and I want everyone in this country has their own house and I will try my best to make everyone to feel content...

(Subjunctive in present tense)
3) (From the movie Good Will Hunting, Will hunting is making a long hypothetical case, Matt Damon as Will Hunting)
Why shouldn't|I work for the N.S.A.? That's a tough one, but I'll take a shot. Say I'm workin' at the N.S.A. and somebody puts a code on my desk. Something no one else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. I'm real happy with myself because I did my job well...
(If Will Hunting can use "Say I'm working", so can we use "if I am the president" instead of "if I were the president", informally? Do the English speakers think in this way to provide faster thinking?)

I am just wondering how English speaker deals with long subjunctive assumptions in their daily life, do they actually speak as formal as they write or simply ignore subjunctive rule and use present tense instead like example 3)? Is there a rule such as first person thought to facilitate our thinking and talk and present tense is used in subjunctive instead? What Will Hunting says stuns me and the present tense he uses sounds natural to me. Whenever I try to imagine long cases, past tense subjunctive always give me headache. I feel like clutching a rusty bearing whenever I try to imagine long hypothetical cases in past tense. I am just wondering how English speakers deal with long subjunctive cases formally or informally, especially informally, in their daily life.
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Hello, zhouyu. 'Subjunctive' is a mood, not a case. Native speakers do not think about its use, just as they do not think about what noun to use when they see a small hairy barking quadruped on a leash. Subjunctive mood is becoming rarer and rarer in all but the most formal written English, and users vary in their awareness of its use there when they compose, while fewer and fewer have the habit of using it when they speak, even with such set expressions as 'if I were you'.

It is not something that you should spend so much time worrying over.
Anonymous(If Will Hunting can use "Say I'm working", so can we use "if I am the president" instead of "if I were the president", informally? Do the English speakers think in this way to provide faster thinking?)

Though I do not want to contradict MM's comments, I would say no to this. I think 'say' + present (simple or progressive) is an expression that conveys what follows is hypothetical. I don't think you can do the same with 'if.'
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Greetings, zhouyu.my here. Thank you both for your replies. I think I made my question too long so I had made my question obscure. My question is, to native English speakers, how do English speakers deal with long unreal imaginations when they are thinking? Do the English speaker actually think in formal grammar, which all verbs are in past tense, or they simply ignore the past tense rule and use present tense to facilitate or boost the speed of their thoughts. Following are some examples to elaborate my question:

1) "let's say I am the president of this country, I have...(long imagination)"
(if we think in present tense in this way, I think we will think faster, I do think faster because all the annoying past tense verbs are gone. Do the English speakers actually think in this way? Or they follow the second conditional or unreal rule to use all past tense verbs to think?)
2) "If I am to die tomorrow, I think I will...(present tense all the way making long imagination)"
(Do the English speaker think in this way, or simply follow the second conditional rule, change all verbs to past tense?)

Can the English speaker think as fast in past tense as they are in present tense when they are trying to make up a long imagination? I certainly cannot think as fast as I do in present tense than in past tense for long imagination. I am a guy who likes to imagine things, but thinking in past tense simply gives me a limitation to my thought and makes my thought congested. Do the English speaker simply use present tense for long imagination?
Your posts are long because you repeat yourself. Emotion: smile

I believe natives use the past tense. I'm pretty sure your example with Matt Damon is an exception, where the phrase 'say I'm...' allows for the present tense. Hopefully someone has something else to say about this.
Most of your concerns seem to involve the conditional would and have little or nothing to do with the subjunctive, and there's no such thing as a "long subjunctive case". (What you are really talking about is better described as an extended hypothetical situation.) Below is a typical example of what you seem to be focusing on.

I wouldn't know who would be there > I don't know who will be there

The speaker of the first sentence simply distances himself more from the substance of his statement than the speaker of the second sentence. The speaker of the second sentence is simply being more direct, or taking greater responsibility, if you want to say it that way, for what he says.

I don't know. -- Direct.

I wouldn't know. -- Indirect.

It is wrong to do something like that. -- Direct.

It would be wrong to do something like that. -- Indirect.
______________

The quote from Good Will Hunting brings up a different question, and this one is more directly related to the subjunctive. say can be used the same as suppose or pretend or imagine at the beginning of a sentence, and in these cases you have the choice of using the past subjunctive or the present. (Even the past indicative is used by some speakers: Suppose that Henry was walking down the street when suddenly ....) The present tense in such cases is a way of making the argument more vivid -- more as if the situation were actually taking place.

But the technique of using the present instead of the past for the purpose of making your story more vivid is not restricted to hypothetical situations. Even in telling a story of what happened yesterday you can use the present to make your story more exciting. In this sense, the use of the present in Good Will Hunting has nothing to do with the subjunctive per se and everything to do with making the argument more immediate, more lively -- exactly the sort of thing that happens between people who know each other very well.

In short, native speakers use all the different ways of conversing and writing extended hypothetical situations, normally selecting the way that is most appropriate to the subject matter and the audience.

______________

"to facilitate our thinking and talk and present tense is used in subjunctive instead"

No. The grammatical machinery of our language is completely internalized, and we native speakers do not choose one grammatical pattern over another in order to "facilitate our thinking". Believe it or not, we are just as comfortable using one grammatical construction as another. Emotion: smile

CJ
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Zhouyu.my here.

Godlike!
My lord, I pray to thee to answer the final question of mine.

I am living in Malaysia, and the English standard here is, don't want to defame my own country, not that good. My problem is with the present modal verb "would". "Would" has a meaning which means the characteristic of someone or something, or what might happen to a test or event when certain condition met. I am just wondering the following usage is valid:

1)"If you present this ring to Sarah, Jenny will panic."
"If you presented this ring to Sarah, Jenny would panic."
(Can we use "If you present this ring to Sarah, Jenny would panic."?)
2)"If you add sodium into a flask containing liquid chorine, the whole flask will explode!"
"If you added sodium into a flask containing liquid chorine, the whole flask would explode!"
(Can we use "if you add sodium into a flash containing liquid chorine, the whole flask would explode!"?)
3)"If you give this present to Mary, she will give you something back."
"If you gave this present to Mary, she would give you something back."
(Can we use "If you give this present to Mary, she would give you something back."?)

Mr.Wordy did help me with this question, must say thank you to him first, by giving the following answer:
"This sentence is not well coordinated. I don't recommend it as good English. The same applies to all the subsequent sentences of the same form that you ask about."

However, "not well coordinated" doesn't mean they don't exist. I, myself wouldn't use the presumptions I made above in daily life, but they still can be used, can't they. They are still grammatically correct, aren't they?

To let you know how "not that good" our English standard is, I listened this from a news reporter on the radio, she said:
4)"The antique shop in Melaka would be open on 26th of May 2010."
(I would 100% use "will" in the above sentence. But she did use "would", was she correct?)
Anonymous1)"If you present this ring to Sarah, Jenny will panic."
"If you presented this ring to Sarah, Jenny would panic."
(Can we use "If you present this ring to Sarah, Jenny would panic."?)
2)"If you add sodium into a flask containing liquid chorine, the whole flask will explode!"
"If you added sodium into a flask containing liquid chorine, the whole flask would explode!"
(Can we use "if you add sodium into a flash containing liquid chorine, the whole flask would explode!"?)
3)"If you give this present to Mary, she will give you something back."
"If you gave this present to Mary, she would give you something back."
(Can we use "If you give this present to Mary, she would give you something back."?)

... but they [the third version of each above] still can be used, can't they. They are still grammatically correct, aren't they?
As we say in the U.S., "It's a free country". So yes, they can still be used. Somewhere, sometimes, people may use them, and they will not be put in jail for it!

However, (Are you sitting down?), they are not grammatically correct. At least I would not accept them as correct. If someone used them, I would of course understand, but some little part of my brain would feel uncomfortable and would be asking the question, "Why did they say it like that? It doesn't sound right. It's odd, strange, peculiar."
Anonymous"The antique shop in Melaka would be open on 26th of May 2010."
As a bit of news it sounds wrong to me as well. There's nothing in the context of news that suggests that the reporter should be indirect about that kind of announcement, so I don't see any reason at all for the use of would.

Note, however, that if this had been a subordinate clause after a verb of reporting in the past tense, it would have been correct. The proprietor announced yesterday that his antique shop in Melaka would be open on ....

CJ
Hi Zhouyu,
Pardon my curiosity, your name sounds like Chinese; is this a good guess ? I was in Malaysia and Melaka which I liked the best.
This is my two cents, in addition to CJ's comments. I completely understand what you meant. That aside, I think you English level is above most average ESL learners and perhaps considered excellent by most Asian countries's standard. I really hate to measure it like this but as an Asian myself, I have to acknowledged the fact, and I have strived to refine my English for many years, perhaps with the desire to perfect it to a level of journalistic quality. Over the last 20 years, I've watched countless hours of CNN, Discovery, History and BBC programs. These mixture of contents gave me a broad spectrum of subject matters and styles of delivery. But most importantly, I was living in a complete native environment and immersing myself in English. As a former ESL learner, I have realized the confusions others face in dealing with the subjunctives. In regard to the subject, "would" seemed to be most troublesome as it can founction in so many ways. Many times, Would -is used to soften up the statement, or make the matter less "direct". i.e. Would you mind passing me that salt? It doesn't necessarily mean it is used as a past form of "will", although we were taught that way. Generally speaking, subjunctive is used to express certainty, likelihood and possibilty, or the lack thereof.

I wish you were here (but you are 6000 miles away)-Unrealistic
I wish I could take a month off to travel Asia -hypethetical, expressing desire but not likely to happen in near terms.

Had I realized that he is such an unreliable person, I wouldn't have hired him. - 3rd condition hypethetical, and non-factual. What is factual is that he is now working for you.

What I try to say is sometimes learning from classroom and books is not enough; just like studying chemistry, one has to get in the lab and mix them up, and perhaps blow things up a few times to get a good feel for it. And for most foreign learners, the "lab time" is limited. I always thought subjunctive is a rather sticky topic and even with the help of an expert native, it will take a lot of examples and explaining before it makes good sense to learners. That's my two cents.
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