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Hi, 

I encoutered this statement in a famous indian news paper. Is it correct grammatically?

"Would the gov't have taken so much time if JDS and Congress were together,"  BJP  General secreteray  Yaswanth Sinha asked.
(JDS, Congress, BJP are political parties)

I felt it is neither unreal condition in the past, nor unreal condition in the present.

Unreal condition in the PAST should be like

"Would the gov't have taken so much time if JDS and Congress had been together"

Unreal condition in the PRESENT should be like

"Would the gov't take so much time if JDS and Congress were together".

Please clarify which of them is more appropriate.

Thanks,

Ravi
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Comments  
Hi, ravikumarkargam.
It's called Mixed Conditional.
"Would the gov't have taken so much time if JDS and Congress were together,"
If-clause relates to the Second Conditional, so it represents unreal situation in the Present.
The main part of sentence relates to the Third Conditional, so it represents unreal situation in the Past.
Hi,

This is part of what Roger Woodham said when responding to a question. This is from BBC Learning English about mixed conditionals.

Roger Woodham said this in her response to a question:

mixed second / third conditional

The other possibility, though I think this is less common, is when we have a type 2 conditional in the if-clause (if + past simple) followed by a type 3 conditional (would've + past participle) in the main clause.

With this combination, we are describing ongoing circumstances in relation to a previous past event. Consider these examples:

If you weren't such a poor dancer, you would've got a job in the chorus line in that musical.

If you weren't so blind to his faults, you would've realised that he was out to swindle you.

He's old enough to come home by himself, but can you just see him across the busy road?

I am particularly puzzled by the part "describing ongoing circumstances." Should it be for only ongoing circumstances??
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He said that because the Second Conditional relates to the unreal situations in the Present and Future.
Hi, I beg to differ: I think the phrase 'on going' was used to denote that it is still applicable or effect and not to imply the presence of any notion about the future.
ravikumarkargamI felt it is neither unreal condition in the past, nor unreal condition in the present.
The condition itself (the if clause) refers to a situation in the general present. It should be understood as a counterfactual. JDS and Congress are not together is what it's saying, implying also that they have not been together for some time, and perhaps that they will continue not to be together for some time to come.
The main clause suggests that the government took too much time (to do something, presumably) during the period when JDS and Congress were not together, as they typically have been and will continue to be.
The combination is therefore about a past event within the "general present" (called "ongoing" in a post above).
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The substitution of if ... were for if ... had been is very common in these patterns, because had been seems to restrict the situation to the past, and often we want to indicate that the situation continues into the present.
CJ
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Hi,
Would these be considered counfactual (Does counfactual mean contrary to the fact? Can we assume the word 'hypothetical' as having the same meaning as the term "counfactual" with a notion of a past event with the "general present" -- as you have coined (termed?) it? I see two terms used to explain number 2 conditionals and wonder if they have the same general meaning.)?

I believe these are mixed conditionals.

If Sam spoke English, he would have gotten the job.

If I put the phrase "back then," I am uncertain if it still has that "on-going" (to the present) notion.

If Sam spoke English back then, he would have gotten the job.
AnonymousDoes counterfactual mean contrary to the fact?
Yes, exactly.
AnonymousCan we assume the word 'hypothetical' as having the same meaning as the term "counterfactual" with a notion of a past event with the "general present"
No. hypothetical means that you are assuming something to be true for the sake of argument. counterfactual means contrary to fact. The contents of an if clause are always hypothetical, but not always counterfactual. The contents of the main clause that goes with the if clause are not hypothetical, but are the conclusion drawn from the hypothesis of the if clause. This conclusion may be counterfactual, however, or predictive.

___

Normally, the third conditional pattern is the one we associate with counterfactual statments:
If John had held the glass firmly, it would not have fallen to the floor and broken.
(But John did not hold the glass firmly, so it fell to the floor and broke.)
___

The second conditional pattern is not normally associated with counterfactual statements, but predictions:
If John held the glass firmly, it would not fall and break.
(We don't know if John is going to hold the glass firmly or not. We predict what will occur if he does.)
___

But were is often counterfactual even in the second conditional pattern:
If John were the president, he would reform the system.
(John is not the president. We predict what would occur if that were otherwise.)
___

And in the mixed conditional, thus:
If John were smart, he would not have made such a stupid remark.
(John is not smart, and never has been smart. That's why he made such a stupid remark.)
___

With had been (smart), a third conditional pattern, the if clause creates the sense that an action took place not related to the present at all:
If John had been smart, he would not have made such a stupid remark.
(If John had acted with intelligence on that (past) occasion, he would not have made such a stupid remark.)
(But he did not act with intelligence, so he made that stupid remark.)
___

I hope that helps.
CJ
Thank you so much. I think what I wanted to ask was what the phrase 'back then' will do for a sentence that is supposed to be a mixed condition like this. I think this is the sentence I used.

If he spoke English (back then), he would have gotten the job.

You said as part of your previous response:

And in the mixed conditional, thus:

If John were smart, he would not have made such a stupid remark.

(John is not smart, and never has been smart. That's why he made such a stupid remark.)

If I put the phrase "back then", will it change the whole sentence paradigm (I don't know this is the right word to use)?

If John were smart (back then), he would not have made such a stupid remark.
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