Hello! JimEmotion: smile

I would like to consult you some confusing questions. They are not confusing but could be. I thought I could handle most of the subjunctive moods after reading lots of rules. But I still find some examples hard to understand once in a while. I think I understand it but I am not sure about my interpretation. I need your help.Emotion: smile

If the weather is good, I'll go hiking.

--> This is the most popular pattern that occurs in the grammar books in the market. It points out that there's a possibility that the weather is going to be nice. So using "will" works well if I mean to say I'll go hiking definitely;the possibility of going hiking is almost 100 per cent sure.

If the weather is good, I might go hiking.

-->With "might" used here, I am not so sure of the possibility of going hiking. I might go hiking or I might go jogging. It depends on my mood.

If the weather is good, I would go hiking.

--> I don't know if this one is 100 percent correct. I'd like to add one more word, "If the weather is good, I would probably go hiking." How do you like it? I mean to point out the possibility of going hiking as well as the possibility in my previous example.

Are these three sentences all right for you?


Your analysis of the first two is fine. The third one doesn't work so well.
If you keep the "would" in that sentence, you're going to end up with a different meaning when you adjust the first clause to correct it.

There are two possible adjustments that I can think of.

1) "If the weather was good, I would go hiking" is habitual action in the past, equivalent to "If the weather was good, I used to go hiking". "would" is not used in its conditional sense here. The corresponding present is "If the weather is good, I go hiking."

2) "If the weather were good, I would go hiking." Here the weather is not good, but the speaker tells us what he "would do" IF the weather were otherwise. You can add "probably" if you want, but that doesn't change the basic structure. It just changes the meaning slightly.

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Hello, Jim.Emotion: smile

I also heard that some would use "were" formally while "was" informally. In this case, were and was are the same just that formality differs. But in your example, it seems like there's little difference. The first one is more of an imagination or hypothetical situation whereas the second one is simply a past statement.

Is that right?

Yes, that's right. My examples are cast in what you call the formal sense. (In my opinion, "were" is not really that formal. Nevertheless, people do say "formal" and "informal" to distinguish the two uses.)

In the informal sense the sentence "If the weather was good, I would go hiking" is ambiguous. It can take either the conditional meaning or the habitual meaning.

Emotion: geeked
Thank you, Jim. You are AWESOME! Emotion: smile

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?