- For Teachers
I had emailed some students about a planned outing and days later, one of my students suggested that I had made a syntax error for a conditional statement that I made. The statement made was:
If anyone else decides to make a surprise appearance, I知 not sure if we値l be able to seat them.
His attention was drawn to the use of "if" within the main clause. Though looking deeply into my grammar bible and Googling my head off, I couldn't find any similar sentence constructs which would support the way that I wrote it. And looking back, I can now see alternatives for how I could have written it (e.g. substituting "if" with "that").
Still, when I read my original variant back to myself, I can hear this as being a valid sentence. Perhaps I'm merely confusing the sloppy way with which people have muddled up the speech, but conditional rules aside, this sounds okay to me.
I would love to hear another take on this from others.
If anyone else decides to make a surprise appearance, I’m not sure we’ll be able to seat them.
Thanks for replying, fivejedjon.
permissible to use "if" in the main clause; no matter how normal it may sound to my ears.
Do you know of any source online which states such a rule for using "if" in the main clause in this manner?
FYI: My grammar bible source is "Cambridge Grammar of English" (v. 2010).
Hah! Yes, that would also work. But what I am looking for isn't alternatives to how to rephrase my syntax; but rather, is my syntax grammatically legal; preferably, a source which shows using "if" in the main clause as a viable conditional statement.
In every exercise that I have shown them in the past (including the more advanced conditional variations), the use of "if" in the main clause has always been a no-no! And now, I'm using it myself. I suppose I'm looking for a sneaky way out. Hah!
But in all honesty, I sincerely use this type of conditional in my everyday conversations. So I'd actually like to be able to share with my more advanced students such variant conditional options.
I can't see any grounds for a grammar police arrest warrant here.
1. "Are you English?"
2. He asked my parents if/whether they are/were English.
3. "If you are English, can you give me some lessons?"
4. He asked my parents if/whether they could give him some lessons if they were English.
They are all fine. We don't need a grammar book to confirm every possible utterance in the language - it would have to be be thousands of pages long. We have, above:
1. A direct question.
2. A reported version of that question - an indirect/reported question.
3. A conditional sentence that happens to be a direct question.
4. That direct conditional question reported.
fairly close example of what I said; though in reported speech.
What I like more than anything is your blunt explanation towards the inability to completely cover every single variance in English. I believe I may have to quote you by incorporating that explanation whenever I fail to be able to hunt a viable source for future explanations.
In grammar and in law, it's up to the prosecution to prove guilt IMO.