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If you were sure he (?) come, I would......

this question is about tense usage in subordinate clauses in conditional sentences.

I know we have to change the tense in the main clause into past when we refer to something unreal or something theoretical

what I want to know is the tense in subordinate clauses, not in the main clauses

which tense should I use in the sentence above when I want to refer to something in the future?

1. If you were sure he came, I would......
2. If you were sure he will come, I would...
3. If you were sure he would come, I would...
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Hi Icadia

It seems to me that you're trying to get a "black and white" answer for a question that doesn't have a black and white answer.

Meaning is often extremely dependent on context. Not only have you provided incomplete sentences, but you have not provided any broader context either.

Are you asking whether "were" is or can be a reference to the future? Do you want to know whether the verb "come" refers or can refer to the future in the sentence fragments?
Icadiawhich tense should I use in the sentence above when I want to refer to something in the future?
If you were sure he would come, ... for the idea that he might come in the future. If you were sure he had come, ... for the idea that he might have already come in the past.

CJ
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CalifJimIf you were sure he would come, ... for the idea that he might come in the future.
Hi, CalifJim. Does "would" imply here some kind of less probability it will happen which is similar to "should" in if-clause?
FandorinDoes "would" imply here some kind of less probability it will happen which is similar to "should" in if-clause?
If I understand you correctly, the answer is "No".

Are you contrasting these two?

If you were sure he would come, ...
If you were sure he should come, ...


These are entirely different, at least in American English.

sure he would come =~ sure he was going to come
sure he should come =~ sure that it was advisable for him to come

CJ
I'm a bit confused about "would" in if-clause. I guess I get it. "would/should" here are modals, aren't they?
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Hi Fandorin

Technically, the word "would" is not actually in the IF-clause. It's simply in the IF half of the sentence.

Maybe looking at these will be helpful:
- He will come. I am sure (about that). --> 2 separate sentences
- I am sure (that) he will come. --> 2 clauses

Now consider a past version of that last sentence:
- I was sure (that) he would come.
FandorinI'm a bit confused about "would" in if-clause. I guess I get it. "would/should" here are modals, aren't they?

can, could, will, would, shall, should, may, might, and must are always modals. But read Yankee's post carefully (partially quoted again below). That's the key.
Technically, the word "would" is not actually in the IF-clause. It's simply in the IF half of the sentence.
CJ
Thanks for your answers.
I have some more questions.
then using "will" instead of "would" is incorrect?

let's imagine another one situation.

Another situation

***************************************************************************
A party will be held tomorrow, and "Jane" supposes "Max" doesn't know it.
"Jane" is a little worried if he will come to the party, because she hates him.
If he attended the party, Jane wouldn't attend.

***************************************************************************

In this situation, should "Jane" say "If he knew that the party would be held tomorrow, I wouldn't attend“?

Am I thinking correctly? In this sentence I used "would" as you described, not “will"

The tense in sub clauses in conditional sentences has always made me confused.
If the sentence was an open conditional sentence, I wouldn't be so confused , because most grammar books explain the tense in a open conditional sentence, but most of them I've seen don't explain what tense to use in the sub-clause in a conditional sentence. like the sentence above I posted

conclusively, "will" is impossible, isn't it?

I have one more question.

this sentence below is from "Dear abby"

"His willingness to participate would prove that he's willing to do everything he can to reassure you that he won't cheat again."

the tense in the sub clause after "would" is present tense as you can see (he's willing to do~)

could you explain why?

the usage of "would" here is different than the usage of "would" in conditional sentences?
my ignorance of tense usages in sub clauses after "would" really drives me nuts.
I've tried to get the answer only from grammar books, because I prefer studying by myself.
however, I am at my wits' end now.
This is very important to me. I am still waiting for your help.
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