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Hoping for a little (more) help please.
I can't work out if this sentence is 1st or 2nd conditional:
If we could find an alternative to landfills, it would help the environment.
I understand that the result clause is in 2nd conditional form (would + base verb), but I'm not sure about the condition clause. Is 'could' acting as the past simple verb? or is 'find' the main verb? making it a 1st conditional clause. In which case I suppose it would be mixed
I must admit that I was thinking along the lines of 'find' being the main verb and 'could' just acting as a modal auxiliary.
"Find" is indeed the "main verb" (in many people's terminology). But it is the finite verb, in this case the auxiliary, that determines the tense of the clause. So in cases like this it is the auxiliary is the one that counts (though I was careful not to describe it as the "main verb").