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Thread: Conditionals

  1. #1
    BornInCCCP is offline Newbie
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    Question Conditionals

    What is the difference between the following sentences:

    1) If you really want to learn Italian, you need to spend some time in Italy.

    2) If you really want to learn Italian, you will need to spend some time in Italy.

    Do the following sentences mean the same:

    1) If he agreed, we would start now.

    2) If he were to agree, we would start now.

    Which one is correct:

    1) If water is frozen, it expands.

    2) If water is frozen, it will expand.

    3) If water freezes, it expands.

    4) If water freezes, it will expand.
    Last edited by BornInCCCP; 05-Feb-2011 at 20:17.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Re: Conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by BornInCCCP View Post
    What is the difference between the following sentences:
    They mean the same.
    1) If you really want to learn Italian, you need to spend some time in Italy.

    2) If you really want to learn Italian, you will need to spend some time in Italy.

    Do the following sentences mean the same: Yes.

    1) If he agreed, we would start now.

    2) If he were to agree, we would start now.

    Which one is correct: They are all correct.

    1) If water is frozen, it expands.

    2) If water is frozen, it will expand.

    3) If water freezes, it expands.

    4) If water freezes, it will expand.
    Bhai.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by BornInCCCP View Post
    1)
    3) If water freezes, it expands.

    4) If water freezes, it will expand.
    Note than it #4 we are speaking not of a future possibility but of a general truth, a certainty.

    Will is sometimes used with this idea of present certainty, as in:

    John left here an hour ago, so he will be home now.

    In the following sentence, however, will expresses certainty about the future:

    If you put that bowl of water in the cellar now, it will freeze solid before breakfast.

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Conditionals

    It's difficult for me to imagine a context in which

    If water freezes, it expands.


    would be a good choice. I'm not saying it's incorrect, but I would normally use

    When water freezes, it expands.

  5. #5
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    Re: Conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    It's difficult for me to imagine a context in which

    If water freezes, it expands.


    would be a good choice. I'm not saying it's incorrect, but I would normally use

    When water freezes, it expands.
    I guess in this situation, when we want to indicate a general truth of something through the use of the zero conditional, when and if are interchangeable. In Polish, the similar question arises between kiedy and jeśli.

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    Re: Conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    It's difficult for me to imagine a context in which

    If water freezes, it expands.


    would be a good choice. I'm not saying it's incorrect, but I would normally use

    When water freezes, it expands.
    Here are some words written on a very similar sentence (I have put the most relevant words in red):

    When speakers present an action or state in factual conditional terms, they are stating that they accept that action or state as reality;

    1. If you heat ice, it melts.
    2. If Andrea cooks, I wash up.
    3. If it’s ten o’clock already, then I’m late.


    General Truths

    In [1], the melting of the ice is presented as a consequence of heating it - on every occasion that it is heated. This is a consequence independent of time; it is a general truth based on physical law and this construction is frequently used in scientific writing. In practice, the meaning is similar to utterances using when or whenever:

    4. When[ever] you heat ice, it melts.

    There is a slight difference in meaning. [4] implies that ‘you’ do heat ice on occasions; [1] allows that you may not actually do it [although states that the consequence of a present or future heating of ice is the same as all past heatings by anyone - it melts].

    In factual conditionals that are general truths, we normally use the Unmarked tense [Present Simple] in both clauses; it is the natural tense for unmarked time. It is possible however to use modals; will, for example, adds the idea of absolute certainty. Note that in [5] we are presenting a general truth, not a future possibility [See section 5.4 for a discussion of potential problems with this]:

    5.If you heat ice, it will melt.

    Other tenses and aspects of the verb, as well as modals, are also possible in either clause in the appropriate situation:

    6. If water has been boiled for twenty minutes, it is completely sterile.
    7. If the metal snaps, it has been subjected to extreme stress.
    8. If a dog is wagging its tail, it’s happy
    9. If you can speak Swedish, you can understand Danish.

    From: http://www.gramorak.com/Articles/Conditionals.pdf

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Conditionals

    [QUOTE=fivejedjon;711519]. In practice, the meaning is similar to utterances using when or whenever:

    4. When[ever] you heat ice, it melts.

    There is a slight difference in meaning. [4] implies that ‘you’ do heat ice on occasions; [1] allows that you may not actually do it [although states that the consequence of a present or future heating of ice is the same as all past heatings by anyone - it melts].

    [/QUOTE]
    That (the green statement) could be why I can't think of a good context for

    If water freezes, it expands.


    Water surely freezes on occasions.

    (I don't get it--why doesn't quoting work?)

    PS: Is it because of the square brackets inside the quotation?

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    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    I guess in this situation, when we want to indicate a general truth of something through the use of the zero conditional, when and if are interchangeable. In Polish, the similar question arises between kiedy and jeśli.
    I don't think I would ever say, "Jeśli woda zamarza, to się rozszerza."

    (But this is an English forum. We can discuss this via PM if you want.)

  9. #9
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    Re: Conditionals

    [/QUOTE]


    Water surely freezes on occasions.

    [/QUOTE]
    Not everywhere it doesn't, unless you freeze it on purpose.

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    slim-shen is offline Newbie
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    Re: Conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by BornInCCCP View Post
    What is the difference between the following sentences:

    1) If you really want to learn Italian, you need to spend some time in Italy.

    2) If you really want to learn Italian, you will need to spend some time in Italy.

    Do the following sentences mean the same:

    In my opinion:
    1) If he agreed, we would start now.

    "Agreed" suggests that, the question was already asked of the individual and was denied. If he had said yes they would start now.

    2) If he were to agree, we would start now.
    "Were to agree" suggests that, if the question is to be asked and agreed upon; they will start now.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

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