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  1. #1
    bexy99 Guest

    difference in meaning

    Can you tell me the difference in meaning betwenn the following pairs of sentences?

    1. If I had the money, I'd buy a new car.
    If I have the money, I'll buy a new car.

    2. The house was very isolated.
    The house was very secluded.

    3. Give me a hand with this bag, will you?
    Could you give me a hand with this bag, please?

    Thank you for you help.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: difference in meaning

    1- In the first sentence, the person doesn't have the money. In the second, they may not have it now, but they thin k they may get it.
    2- 'isolated' may carry a slightly negative connotation- if you wanted to be in a city, you'd be more likely to use the first. If you love your privacy, then 'secluded' sounds good.
    3- Familiarity- say the first to a friend and the second to someone you know less well or don't have a close social relationship with.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: difference in meaning

    1. The former sentence is generally called a subjunctive form. You need to refer to this part in any grammar book. It looks like a past tense, but you should interpret the sentence as if it were a present tense.

    3. As Tdol's explanation suggests, the latter sentence sounds much more polite than the former.

    In addition, a sentence like "Can you give me a hand with this bag?" sounds less rude than the former but less polite than the latter.
    Last edited by critic72; 27-Apr-2005 at 20:05.

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