View Poll Results: In which conditional can 'if' be replaced with 'should'?

Voters
668. This poll is closed
  • Zero conditional

    160 23.95%
  • First conditional

    259 38.77%
  • Second conditional

    158 23.65%
  • Third conditional

    91 13.62%
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Thread: Conditionals

  1. #1
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Conditionals

    Does it change the meaning?

  2. #2
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    Default

    Just curious, do Americans use this construction:

    Should you want it, I'll have it ready for you.

    I missvoted. This is the first conditional. :D

    Does it change the meaning? Not sure, I never use this construction.

    Iain

  3. #3
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    Default

    Question: In which conditional can 'if' be replaced with 'should'?
    Answer: Well, it's not the zero conditional. However, while you can't use should with the zero conditional, you can use when. (You can also make a zero conditional statement using either should or when.)

    Examples:

    • If you heat water to 100 degrees Celsius, it boils.
      When you heat water to 100 degrees Celsius, it boils.
      Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.


    What do you think?

    :)

    [Edited for spelling.]

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Some people argue that the zero conditional isn't a true conditional because 'when' can be used in place of 'if'.

    In BE, we do replace 'if' with 'should' in the first conditional and it seems to reduce the probability of the condition being met, like a halfway house to the second conditional.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Some people argue that the zero conditional isn't a true conditional because 'when' can be used in place of 'if'.
    But it is, isn't it? After all, a specified condition must be met before a specified result can occur. (If the water does not reach 100 degrees Celsius it does not boil.) BTW, I meant to ask (but forgot to) is why is it called a zero conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    In BE, we do replace 'if' with 'should' in the first conditional and it seems to reduce the probability of the condition being met, like a halfway house to the second conditional.
    It's interesting that you said that. I was considering disagreeing with myself. How about:

    • Should water reach 100 degrees Celsius it will boil. (If it doesn't it won't, but should it do so it will.)


    What do you think?

    :)

  6. #6
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Should water reach 100 degrees Celsius it will boil. (If it doesn't it won't, but should it do so it will.)


    That takes it into the first conditional. It's called the zero conditional, I believe, because the link is automatic.

  7. #7
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    Default

    No should for the zero conditional then. I will just have to agree with myself.

    :wink:

  8. #8
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    It sounds like a good idea.

  9. #9
    whl626 is offline Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    No should for the zero conditional then. I will just have to agree with myself.

    :wink:
    I have come across ' should ' being added for a matter of probability.

    eg We will not go if it rains. Or We will not go if it should rain.

  10. #10
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    Default

    That's fine, but you would find it hard to do that in a zero conditional as they express certainty not probability. )

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