A while ago, I found myself uttering to someone
the following sentence, and feeling a little confused while saying it.
"If you are a tall man, like I am, ..."
(you find yourself searching for clothes that fit.) (I struggle to find clothes that fit.)
(it's hard to find clothes off the rack.)
(I said this to a woman!)
(You'd understand my confusion if you actually say it to someone who's not a tall man.)

Are there similar utterances in other European
languages?
German, French, Spanish, etc.

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A while ago, I found myself uttering to someone the following sentence, and feeling a little confused while saying it. ... who's not a tall man.) Are there similar utterances in other European languages? German, French, Spanish, etc.

The English for that would be "If you're a tall man like me, ..."
Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
A while ago, I found myself uttering to someone the following sentence, and feeling a little confused while saying it. ... find clothes that fit.) (it's hard to find clothes off the rack.) (I said this to a woman!)

I think that in this situation, where what's stated in the "if" clause is hypothetical, unlikely, or (as here) impossible, many speakers would use the subjunctive and/or the conditional:
"If you were a tall man, like I am, you would find/would struggle/it would be hard..."
In many varieties of English, the subjunctive is pretty well moribund, but there's no doubt that in the standard language you can't use what you said in the situation you describe.
Are there similar utterances in other European languages? German, French, Spanish, etc.

Yes. In most of them the subjunctive is still very much alive, more so than in English. They also have conditional forms similar to English.

John.
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A while ago, I found myself uttering to someone the ... the rack.) (I said this to a woman!)

I think that in this situation, where what's stated in the "if" clause is hypothetical, unlikely, or (as here) impossible, many speakers would use the subjunctive and/or the conditional: "If you were a tall man, like I am, you would find/would struggle/it would be hard..."

But that doesn't say the same thing at all. In your version, the speaker is asking the hearer to put themself into his place; in the original, the speaker is reflecting wryly on the drawbacks of being tall (never mind all the documented advantages of being shortness-challenged).
In many varieties of English, the subjunctive is pretty well moribund, but there's no doubt that in the standard language you can't use what you said in the situation you describe.

Are there similar utterances in other European languages? German, French, Spanish, etc.

Yes. In most of them the subjunctive is still very much alive, more so than in English. They also have conditional forms similar to English.

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
A while ago, I found myself uttering to someone the ... the rack.) (I said this to a woman!)

I think that in this situation, where what's stated in the "if" clause is hypothetical, unlikely, or (as here) impossible, ... but there's no doubt that in the standard language you can't use what you said in the situation you describe.

This is utter rubbish. Even in the situation described the sentence used by the OP is quite possible and is also grammatically correct. This usage of "you" is not areferring to the person being spoken to, but is known as the universal "you" and corresponds to the use of "one" in more formal English.
This structure is also used in informal German (using "du2 instead of teh impersonal "man"), particularly by young Germans - but I don't know if this is because of the influence of English or a more deep-seated Germanic structure.
Einde O'Callaghan
A while ago, I found myself uttering to someone the following sentence, and feeling a little confused while saying it. ... a woman!) (You'd understand my confusion if you actually say it to someone who's not a tall man.)

It's colloquial for "If one is a tall man, like I am, ..." We often use "you", rather than the stuffy "one", and it rarely leads to any confusion.

It is bad style, of course, to use "one" when one means "I" - an upper-class shibboleth.
Adrian
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I think that in this situation, where what's stated in ... you can't use what yousaid in the situation you describe.

This is utter rubbish. Even in the situation described the sentence used by the OP is quite possible and is ... spoken to, but is known as the universal "you" and corresponds to the use of "one" in more formal English.

Point taken. I do of course frequently use this "you". Still, in my idiolect at any rate, I find the original sentence very hard to accept, presumably because of the two possible meanings of "you", one of which makes no sense in the context.
I'd have found it a wee bit more acceptable, I think, if he'd said "If you're a tall man like me..." rather than "If you are a tall man, as I am..." perhaps because then there isn't a clash of formalness involved in taking "you" as the "universal you" (Is that what Peter was getting at?)

John.
This is utter rubbish. Even in the situation described the ... corresponds to the use of "one" in more formal English.

Point taken. I do of course frequently use this "you". Still, in my idiolect at any rate, I find the ... isn't a clash of formalness involved in taking "you" as the "universal you" (Is that what Peter was getting at?)

Not really; I make it grammatical rather than pragmatic. But the pragmatics does get involved. Inappropriate as well as ungrammatical!
Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
Point taken. I do of course frequently use this "you". Still, in my idiolect at any rate, I find the original sentence very hard to accept, presumably because of the two possible meanings of "you", one of whichmakes no sense in the context.

The formal English as pointed out is, "If one is a tall man..." but when speaking to a woman informally just leave out "man", "If you are tall, as I am, then.."
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