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  1. #1
    bkpsusmitaa is offline Newbie
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    Default The agreement of tenses in conditional sentences

    I have two conditional sentences:
    (A) I wonder if he will come: Here in the first part the very 'wonder' is present, i.e., earlier, in the second, the times is in future 'will come'
    (B) James will go if Harry comes: Here in the first part is future, while in the second, the time is earlier, or present.

    Could you suggest if the following sentence is correct:
    Mosquito can't breed if there is no waterlogging.
    Here, waterlogging is earlier than mosquito's breeding, so should the sentence be mosquito will not breed...

    But there is an element of universality here. Say, the sentence: He said, "The earth goes round the sun" will be in indirect speech, he said that the earth goes round the sun.

    Can a similar argument be pushed here?

  2. #2
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The agreement of tenses in conditional sentences

    The mosquito can't breed if there is...

    would be perfectly acceptable. We would classify this as a zero conditional, in which the present tense occurs in both clauses and 'if' means essentially no more than 'whenever'.

  3. #3
    bkpsusmitaa is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: The agreement of tenses in conditional sentences

    Thank you! But is there a famous book like fowler's where the issue is dealt with in detail? That would be welcome and appreciated.

  4. #4
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The agreement of tenses in conditional sentences

    I'm sure that you'll find the subject of conditional sentences comprehensively covered in many authoritative reference works...

  5. #5
    bkpsusmitaa is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: The agreement of tenses in conditional sentences

    Please, sir, a list of excellent books (i.e., the senior members' and moderators' personal perspectives) would be much appreciated. If desired, the information could be posted in my private message inbox. We - my daughter and I - are in search of great books on the subject. I have found the following books from the internet, but don't know which to buy.

    Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartvik, Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985)
    - Micheal Swam, Practical English Usage (1995)
    - John Eastwood, Oxford Guide to English Grammar (1994)
    - British National Corpus
    - Corpus of Contemporary American English

  6. #6
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    charliedeut is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: The agreement of tenses in conditional sentences

    I have Mr. Swan's book and use it as a reference whenever I have to teach. It's a good one, with clear examples, and easy to understand.
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: The agreement of tenses in conditional sentences

    Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartvik, Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985)
    This is a valuable resource for people studying English at university level, but is too comprehensive for most people wishing to learn to communicate in the language.

    - Micheal Swan, Practical English Usage (1995)
    This is one of the most useful books any learner can possess. Read my review here.

    - British National Corpus
    - Corpus of Contemporary American English
    These two useful resources are freely available online. I have provided links.

    This is the first of a series of UE articles on conditionals..
    Last edited by 5jj; 19-Aug-2013 at 11:55.

  8. #8
    bkpsusmitaa is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: The agreement of tenses in conditional sentences

    Great! Many thanks! Actually, people around me complain that I speak little. Maybe, the habit is reflected in my posts too! Only my elaboration elicited your response. My apologies!
    In India we have The High School English Grammar & Composition, by Wren and Martin - the best in our time I guess, given the limited choice we had in India! My daughter uses my copy, but I required something better.
    Last edited by bkpsusmitaa; 19-Aug-2013 at 11:10.

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