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  1. iZicci's Avatar

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    #1

    Question Can I use 'what if' like this?

    Shutter Island, a good film from a good novel.

    What is reality?

    Are we living in our dreams?

    This film has made me think a lot about our real life.

    What if someday we realized that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true, how could we face the world then?

    I'd like to appreciate your replies.

    Thanks!

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    #2

    Re: Can I use 'what if' like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by iZicci View Post
    Shutter Island, a good film from a good novel.

    What is reality?

    Are we living in our dreams?

    This film has made me think a lot about our real life.

    What if someday we realized that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true, how could we face the world then?

    I'd like to appreciate your replies.

    Thanks!
    Yes, you can.

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    #3

    Re: Can I use 'what if' like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by iZicci View Post
    Shutter Island, a good film from a good novel.

    What is reality?

    Are we living in our dreams?

    This film has made me think a lot about our real life.

    What if someday we realized that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true, how could we face the world then?

    I'd like to appreciate your replies.

    Thanks!
    :

    But since you haven't realized yet:

    What if someday we realize that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true, how could we face the world then?

    Also, in the sentence above, I guess it is better to say "would" instead of "could".

    PS Not a native speaker

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    #4

    Re: Can I use 'what if' like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by iZicci View Post
    Shutter Island, a good film from a good novel.

    What is reality?

    Are we living in our dreams?

    This film has made me think a lot about our real life.

    What if someday we realized that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true, how could we face the world then?

    I'd like to appreciate your replies.

    Thanks!
    By the way I haven't seen the movie yet. Is it good?
    And the book, have you already read it?

    From your "what if" statement it reminds me of the "Matrix" trilogy, which I am about to watch again once more.

  2. iZicci's Avatar

    • Join Date: Apr 2010
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    #5

    Wink Re: Can I use 'what if' like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    By the way I haven't seen the movie yet. Is it good?
    And the book, have you already read it?

    From your "what if" statement it reminds me of the "Matrix" trilogy, which I am about to watch again once more.
    Thanks for your replies!

    Indeed, it's a good film and I've certainly watched it on the internet.

    But I didn't read the novel.

    "Matrix" is also one of my favourite films.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Can I use 'what if' like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    :

    But since you haven't realized yet:

    What if someday we realize that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true, how could we face the world then?
    I disagree. This is hypothetical and the subjunctive form 'realized' is appropriate.
    "What if someday we lived on moon ...
    "
    There is a subtle difference between the meanings, and sometimes either will do:
    "What if I go to the shop?"
    "What if I went to the shop?"


    R.

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    #7

    Re: Can I use 'what if' like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    :

    But since you haven't realized yet:

    What if someday we realize that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true, how could we face the world then?
    I disagree. This is hypothetical and the subjunctive form 'realized' is appropriate.
    "What if someday we lived on moon ...
    "
    There is a subtle difference between the meanings, and sometimes either will do:
    "What if I go to the shop?"
    "What if I went to the shop?"


    R.
    Thanks Raymott. It is indeed good to know we always have attentive careful users at UsingEnglish like you. Of course your "opinion" prevails over mine here, since you are both a native speaker and such a linguistics expert. I apologize for my original mistake and thank you for the lesson.
    I really wasn't aware that was a subjunctive.

    However I still have some questions Raymott:

    1) It is clear to me now that the use of the subjunctive "realized" is correct, but regarding the version with "realize", is it also correct here or is it definitely wrong?

    2) When one uses, in the original sentence, "realized" instead of "realize", how can you tell that the first form is subjunctive while the second is not? For instance:
    "What if he go to the shop?" and "What if he went to the shop?" - aren't both forms in the subjunctive irrespective that the first is simple present while the latter simple past?

    3) In your examples above what is exactly the subtle difference? I still can't get all of it.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Can I use 'what if' like this?

    My problem wasn't "realize/realized" but the comma splice.

    What if someday we realize that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true? How could we face the world then?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: Can I use 'what if' like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    My problem wasn't "realize/realized" but the comma splice.

    What if someday we realize that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true? How could we face the world then?
    Thanks Barb_D. It is always good to have such attentive careful users like you at UsingEnglish. Nothing better than some writer's sharp eyes to spot such important details.

  5. iZicci's Avatar

    • Join Date: Apr 2010
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    #10

    Thumbs up Re: Can I use 'what if' like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    My problem wasn't "realize/realized" but the comma splice.

    What if someday we realize that all of our so-called "reality" was just not true? How could we face the world then?
    It's great!

    You've got the point of my question.

    What I want to know is whether the 'what if' clause can be used like that above or not.

    Now I think it's incorrect.

    THANKS!

    The 'what if' clause should be an indepent one!
    Last edited by iZicci; 17-Apr-2010 at 02:44. Reason: none

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