1. What if I go down the road and I hit someone, would I be at fault? (This is a mixed conditional? I used present tense 'go' to make the sentence sound more immediate; than I shift away to 'would' for remoteness?)

2. Let's say I go down the reoad and I hit someone, would I be at fault? (This is not a mixed conditional?)

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You know me, Jack-- I don't believe in mixed conditionals. Both sentences sound odd as written text, and I would change the gos to wents or the woulds to wills.

Why consciously shift from 'immediacy' to 'remoteness'?
Although I do believe in mixed conditionals, and these are both examples of them, I agree completely with Mr. Micawber that these particular sentences would do better with one of the modifications he suggests. Personally, I would change 'would' to 'will', although the other possibility is also quite good.

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Could the punctuation make a difference? (I'm not bickering, it's for my own information Emotion: smile )

"What if/imagine I go down the road and hit someone ... Would I be at fault?"
I think all of these possibilities are fine in conversation, and as a secondary understanding they can mean different things.

A. What if I go.... (repeated action) / What if I ____ for the rest of the year? (next week, the week after, the week after that, etc...)

B. What if I went (completed action) / What if I had ___? (What if I had eaten healthier meals?)

Answer, I wouldn't be fat. So now, "What (would have happened) if I had eaten healthier meals?

C. What if I went down the road and hit someone, will I be at fault? (1 time event, not repeated)

In context, since laws are meant to be obeyed/followed, they aren't going to change much. What if you 1 were to go down that road 5 times and hit a different person each time, 2 would you be at fault once or five times?

You would be at fault 5 times, or you would be at fault 0 times. If you went down a 6th time, and you 1 were at fault for the other times, it's likely you 2 would be found at fault yet again. Would you mind not going down that road and hitting someone a 7th time?

So, to sum up:

1. If you were to go down that road and hit someone, you would (be at fault / not be at fault).
2. If you go down that road and hit someone, you will (be at fault / not be at fault).

If I were you, I wouldn't take any chances. Go down a different road, and you will be safer and not at fault for anything.

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Do we need to take #1 as a mixed conditional? e.g.

1. What [does it entail] if I go down the road and hit someone? Would I be at fault?


2. What [happens] if the British vote no? Would Europe be thrown into a constitutional crisis?

Here we have the switch from the "immediate" to the "remote" that Jack mentions; but would that be a stylistic (rather than grammatical) question?

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Do we need to take #1 as a mixed conditional?
Yes. Emotion: smile

I'd say so, because it's not one of the "big three conditionals" in its combination of tenses. That's normally how Jack uses the terms, anyway.

You don't think we can take a "what if" statement as an ellipsis, CJ, with a suppressed apodosis? (Which sounds extremely painful.)

Why not, Mr. P., painful though it may be? Why not, indeed? But if the little stinker pops up in the next sentence, what are we going to do? We can't at that point insist that one sentence has no relation to another, can we?

I've actually never heard of ignoring the apodosis in the room, but I believe it can happen. Emotion: smile

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