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Thread: IF

  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default IF

    I have trouble constructing sentences starting with the word if

    when do I say ...

    If I were ...

    If I was ...

    If you chose ...

    If you choose ...

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
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    I guess it depends on what you want to say. Example:
    • Alan: If I were you I wouldn't do that.
      Bob: Why?
      Alan: Because you might hurt yourself.


    :)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: IF

    Quote Originally Posted by David W.
    I have trouble constructing sentences starting with the word if

    when do I say ...

    If I were ...

    If I was ...

    If you chose ...

    If you choose ...
    If I were (hypothetical)
    If I was (potential)

    All the best,

  4. #4
    davidw55555 Guest

    Default IF

    Thanks Ron Bee and Casiopea.

    Is this correct?

    If I am fanatical, they are fanatical. (I am not dead; they are not dead.)

    or should I say,

    If I were fanatical, they were fanatical. (even if I am not dead; they are not dead.)

    (Is it OK to use "were"/past tense even if I (am? were?) not dead or someone else is not dead?)

    If I (start? started?) the sentence with "If I were" should the succeeding clause/phrase be in the past tense? (Can the succeeding clause change into a different tense, for example, present tense? I don't think so.)

    ?Is it wrong to say:

    If I choose (present tense) to do good then ... (Is there a correct situation where I can use the present tense?)

    ?should the previous sentence be in the past tense:

    If I chose to do good then ... (should all constructions of IF be in the past tense? never present tense? how about the future tense?)

    MANY THANKS!

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: IF

    Quote Originally Posted by davidw55555
    Is this correct?

    If I am fanatical, they are fanatical. (I am not dead; they are not dead.)

    or should I say,

    If I were fanatical, they were fanatical. (even if I am not dead; they are not dead.)
    The first is fine. the second would be 'If I was fanatical,they were' This isn't a true conditional,but refers to a past event, so the subjunctive doesn'twork here.

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    Default Re: IF

    Quote Originally Posted by david
    If I am fanatical, they are fanatical. (I am not dead; they are not dead.) or should I say, If I were fanatical, they were fanatical. (even if I am not dead; they are not dead.)
    First, fanatical means excessively enthusiastic. The meaning 'not dead' is a new one on me. :) Second, I'd say "When I am fanatical, they (too) are fanatical)". In the case of "If", I'd say "If I am fanatical, then they (too) are fanatical."

    Conditionals
    1st conditional:
    A. (Present Tense, will infinitive)
    If I choose to work, I will work.

    B. (Present Tense, Present Tense)
    If I choose to work, He, too, chooses to work.

    C. (Present Tense, Imperative)
    If I choose to work, send me the files.

    2nd conditional:
    A. (Past Tense, would+infinitive)
    If I chose to work, I would work.

    3rd conditional:
    A. (Past Perfect Tense, would have+past participle)
    If I had chosen to work, I would have worked.

    Here's a site online about Conditional sentences:
    http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/conditional2.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by david
    Is it OK to use "were"/past tense even if I (am? were?) not dead or someone else is not dead?
    Yes. Like this,

    If I am (to be) dead, then they (too) are (to be) dead.
    =>Present Tense, Present Tense. (No one is dead)
    => 1st Conditional

    But, if we delete the 'to be' part, which refers to the future, then both "I" and "they" are dead:

    If I am dead, then they too are dead.

    Here are two other forms:

    If I was dead, then they (too) would be dead.
    =>Past Tense, would+infintive (No one is dead)
    =>2nd Conditional

    If I were dead, then they (too) would be dead.
    =>Past Tense, would+infinitive (No one is dead)
    =>Subjunctive (i.e. hypothetical situation)

    Note, there are two verbs that look like 'were'. One is the past tense of the verb BE (e,g, I was, You were) and the other is the subjuntive form of the verb BE.

    Quote Originally Posted by david
    If I (start? started?) the sentence with "If I were" should the succeeding clause/phrase be in the past tense? (Can the succeeding clause change into a different tense, for example, present tense? I don't think so.)
    First, please notice the sentence structure:

    "If I start the sentence with 'If I were', should the succeeding clause be in the past tense?"
    => Present Tense, should+infintive
    => 1st Conditional

    Second, remember that 'were' in the context below is the subjunctive verb BE. It follows the rules for 1st Conditional verbs: were, would+infintive.

    EX: If I were you, I wouldn't go there.
    EX: If I were rich, I would buy a house.

    Quote Originally Posted by david
    Is it wrong to say: If I choose (present tense) to do good then ... (Is there a correct situation where I can use the present tense?)
    Yes. It's fine. It's the 1st Conditonal:

    Superman: If I choose to do good, the World will be better off.

    Use "If (present tense)" to talk about a condition in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by david
    should all constructions of IF be in the past tense? never present tense? how about the future tense?
    All construction of "If" should not be in the past. The future is expressed by the pair "If+Present Tense Verb, will+infinitive", like this:

    If I choose to work, I will work.

    All the best,

  7. #7
    davidw55555 Guest

    Default IF

    THANKS TDOL and Casiopea! :)

  8. #8
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    You're welcome.

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