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  1. #1

    would have, would, will

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    1) If you had paid me, I would have mow the lawn.
    2) If you paid me, I would mow the lawn.
    3) If you pay me, I will mow the lawn.


    I cannot find a appropriate context for 2). What's the difference between 2) and 3) for example? And sometimes the line between 1) and 2) seems fine, too. Would appreciate any reply. Thanks!

  2. Steven D's Avatar
    Senior Member
    English Teacher

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 834
    #2

    Re: would have, would, will

    Quote Originally Posted by peteryoung
    Thank you for entering

    1) If you had paid me, I would have mow the lawn.
    2) If you paid me, I would mow the lawn.
    3) If you pay me, I will mow the lawn.


    I cannot find a appropriate context for 2). What's the difference between 2) and 3) for example? And sometimes the line between 1) and 2) seems fine, too. Would appreciate any reply. Thanks!

    1) If you had paid me, I would have mowed the lawn. - It's no longer possible to mow the lawn. The time in which you could have mowed the lawn has passed, and you didn't do it because that cheapskate didn't wanna pay you. This is in the past. The result can't be changed. He/she didn't want to pay you, and you didn't mow the lawn - done. - imaginary in the past


    2) If you paid me, I would mow the lawn. - The cheapskate doesn't want to pay you. Therefore, you are not going to mow the lawn. It is unlikely that he/she will pay you, and unlikely that you will mow the lawn. This sentence speaks about something possible but unlikely in the present. This situation can still change. It's not finished. The statement speaks of something that seems to be unlikely, but it is still possible. - imaginary in the present



    3) If you pay me, I will mow the lawn. - I'm making you an offer. Tell me you'll pay me, and I'll mow the lawn. I'll mow the lawn, but you have to pay me. The speaker sees this idea as a real possibility. This is in contrast to sentence number 2, which does not speak of the same idea as a real possibility. - real possibility in the present

    Sentence number 3 is more optimistic than sentence number 2.
    Last edited by Steven D; 22-May-2005 at 03:51. Reason: addition

  3. #3

    Re: would have, would, will

    This cannot be more illuminating. Thanks!

  4. Steven D's Avatar
    Senior Member
    English Teacher

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 834
    #4

    Re: would have, would, will

    Quote Originally Posted by peteryoung
    This cannot be more illuminating. Thanks!

    You're welcome.

    Now, here's one more thing:

    If you had paid me I would've mowed the lawn. - unreal - imaginary - past

    If you pay me I'll mow the lawn. - real - present

    He said he would pay me if I mowed the lawn. = He said he was going to pay me if I mowed the lawn. - real possibility in the past - It's possible that you can still mow the lawn. It's possible that he can pay you. Or maybe you mowed the lawn, and he hasn't paid you yet. This is real. It's something someone said.

    The idea here is to show the difference between "would" and the past used to express imaginary ideas, and "would" and the past used for real ideas that were expressed in the past.

    past - subjunctive - distant possibility - remote

    past - indicative - reported speech -distant in time - remote

    He said he would pay me if I mowed the lawn

  5. Steven D's Avatar
    Senior Member
    English Teacher

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 834
    #5

    Re: would have, would, will

    He said he would pay me if I mowed the lawn. = He said he was going to pay me if I mowed the lawn. - real possibility in the past - It's possible that you can still mow the lawn. It's possible that he can pay you. Or maybe you mowed the lawn, and he hasn't paid you yet. This is real. It's something someone said.
    And his original words were, of course: "I will pay you if you mow the lawn."

    or: I would pay you if you mowed the lawn."

    The first is more likely. The second is possible.

  6. #6

    Re: would have, would, will

    Thank you again!

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