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Thread: die/died

  1. #1
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Default die/died

    hi,

    ''I will look after your children if you die.''

    ''I will look after your children if you died.''

    please what's the difference between these sentences? can I freely choose anyone and the meaning would be the same? both carry the idea of an hypothetical situation and, this way, both tenses would work, right?

    how about "I don't know what I would do if you die." and "I don't know what I would do if you died."

    thanks.

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    Default Re: die/died

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    hi,

    ''I will look after your children if you die.'' There is a possibility of him/her dying.

    ''I (will) would look after your children if you died.'' We do not expect him/her to die.

    please what's the difference between these sentences? can I freely choose anyone and the meaning would be the same? both carry the idea of an hypothetical situation and, this way, both tenses would work, right?

    how about "I don't know what I (would)will do if you die." and "I don't know what I would do if you died."

    thanks.
    d

  3. #3
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: die/died

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    hi,

    ''I will look after your children if you die.''

    ''I will look after your children if you died.''

    please what's the difference between these sentences? can I freely choose anyone and the meaning would be the same? both carry the idea of an hypothetical situation and, this way, both tenses would work, right?

    how about "I don't know what I would do if you die." and "I don't know what I would do if you died."

    thanks.
    Banderas has described the differences admirably. Let me just add a wee bit. I've /I have said many times that ESLs should look at this, [conditionals] in a scalar sense, not in the isolated sense that the conditionals, one, two and three are normally described.

    [Both <I've> and "I have" have the same meaning but they, especially in speech, hold different nuances]

    Really, this scale goes from,

    "When + Subject + ..." to the other end of the scale ie. the clearest of counterfactuals, "If + Subject were/lived/etc

    Life works in small increments, so too do these structures. There is no difference in meaning but there is a difference in nuance and as every person knows [most notably for their own language] nuance can mean a great deal when you interact with others.

    Of course, you can freely choose your language but how and what you choose can notably affect the person or the situation that it speaks to, which ultimately could have negative effects upon the speaker.

    The mixed conditional with 'will',

    ''I will look after your children if you died.''

    is possible but it moves the realm of dying towards the factual, the true, the real end of the scale. This may well not be where the speaker wants to push this idea when speaking to a person who is in danger of dying.

    ''I would look after your children if you died, but you're not going anywhere for a good long time.''

  4. #4
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: die/died

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    hi,

    ''I will look after your children if you die.'' I would only say this one.

    ''I will look after your children if you died.'' This grammar makes no sense to me.

    please what's the difference between these sentences? can I freely choose anyone and the meaning would be the same? both carry the idea of an hypothetical situation and, this way, both tenses would work, right?

    how about "I don't know what I would do if you die." and "I don't know what I would do if you died." see above

    thanks.
    2006

  5. #5
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: die/died

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    hi,

    how about "I don't know what I would do if you die." and "I don't know what I would do if you died."

    thanks.

    1. I don't know what I will do if you die.

    1a. I don't know what I would do if you died.

    2. I don't know what I would do if you die.

    3. I don't know what I will do if you died.

    Clearly, for English, the historical past tense forms, in this case, 'would' see more frequent use in mixed conditionals. Possibly this is because they are more fully formed tenseless modals than are the historical present tense modals.

    Numbers 1 and 1a, above, represent what we might call the normal neutrals. Numbers 2 & 3 are mixed conditionals that allow speakers to show different levels of reality in their speech. For some situations a mixed conditional can sound odd. But that isn't so much a matter of grammar as it is a matter of semantics.

    Number 3 could fall into that category I've just described, but it also could be part of a situation where someone starts a sentence and thinking that they are stating too great a reality, then shift to the past tense FORM "died" which in English denotes a greater sense of the unreal.

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    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: die/died

    thanks a lot.
    it seems that the safe way is will+die or would+died. anything other than that would sound weird from a foreigner.
    thanks a lot again.

  7. #7
    banderas's Avatar
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    Default Re: die/died

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    thanks a lot.
    it seems that the safe way is will+die or would+died. anything other than that would sound weird from a foreigner. But not from a native, as Riverkid said.
    thanks a lot again.
    Indeed! Let native speakers use these mixed conditionals. I do at least.

  8. #8
    philadelphia's Avatar
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    Default Re: die/died

    ''I will look after your children if you die."

    The first by the way and gramatically speaking.

    Neither a teacher nor a native.

  9. #9
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: die/died

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    thanks a lot.
    it seems that the safe way is will+die or would+died. anything other than that would sound weird from a foreigner.
    thanks a lot again.
    There are mixed conditionals that are completely unexceptionable and they wouldn't sound strange no matter who said them. There are many many others, which would sound odd but again, this would seem to be because of semantic considerations. But isn't that the case for many nuancial situations.

    Don't be afraid to try them, especially here. Who knows, we may discover some pattern that could help. Making mistakes is actually a better way to learn than being right.

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    Default Re: die/died

    A real conditional is used with an event or action that is quite possible or feasible. We use this to discuss something that ordinary or not unusual. It uses this structure:
    If + subject + simple present, subject + shall/will + base form of verb.
    If I do not get my paycheck, I will not pay the rent.
    If I see him, I will speak to him.
    If you die, I will take care of your children. (There is a real possibility that you may die. Perhaps you are very ill, or maybe you are doing something that is very dangerous.)

    An unreal conditional (or: hypothetical, contrary-to-fact conditional) is used to discuss something not expected, something contrary to an actual situation, or conjecture. An unreal conditional uses this structure:
    If + subject + simple past form, subject + would + base form of verb.

    If you died, I would be sad and lonely for the rest of my life. (Unlike above, there is no reason for me to think that you will die. It is not a real possibility; it's not something we expect to happen. It is conjecture. (Look that word up. It's important here.)

    If I got a promotion, I would move to a nicer apartment. (I'm not expecting a promotion.)
    BUT
    If I get a promotion, I will move to a nicer place. (There's a real possibility of me getting a promotion. I have some reason to believe I might get a promotion. Maybe I have applied for a job, and I think I will get it. Perhaps my boss has said I've been doing good work.)

    Note:
    The "if" clause can come at the end, too:
    I will pay off my college loan if I get a promotion. (If I get a promotion, I will pay off my college loan.)
    I would finally be able to buy a house if I got that job. (If I got that job, I would finally be able to buy a house.)

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