View Poll Results: If he is such a good doctor,...

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1379. This poll is closed
  • he should have diagnosed the illness.

    665 48.22%
  • he would have diagnosed the illness.

    327 23.71%
  • Either

    387 28.06%
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  1. #1
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Really Mixed Conditionals

    Any comments?

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default

    For number two I would say, "If he was such a good doctor he would have diagnosed the illness." (presumably, he didn't diagnose the illness.)

  3. #3
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    The second example makes no sense to me.

    I'd think it should be:

    "If he were such a good doctor, he would have diagnosed the illness"

    Iain

  4. #4
    Anonymous Guest

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    It is a very strange conditional and it only seems to work with 'should'.

  5. #5
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    That's me again- I seem to be getting timed out or something tonight. ;-(

  6. #6
    aijex ijaz Guest

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    Well, I would say that there are contexts where the two options can make sense. However, considered alone, in themselves, they may pose a bit of a dificulty for someone trying to make sense out of them.

  7. #7
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    It is a strange sentence. The 'should' form always works for me, but the 'would' one depends- sometimes it sounds OK, then at others it doesn't.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Really Mixed Conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Any comments?
    I think the sentence would work better with "were" in the "if" clause.

    As it stands, I would accept either modal.

    With should, it means that if he is a good doctor (and presumably was then) one can legitimately expect a correct diagnosis from him.

    With would, it means that a good doctor would have made a correct diagnosis; since this one did not, he is probably not a good doctor.

  9. #9
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Really Mixed Conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork

    I think the sentence would work better with "were" in the "if" clause.
    What a shock!

  10. #10
    Christopher Guest

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    If he is such a good doctor he would have diagnesed the illness, because if he wasn't he may have not known anything about that sort of illness.

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