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    #1

    Modal in conditional #2; would, could, might

    I am confused!!

    If I were taller, I would be a basketball player.
    If I were taller, I could be a basketball player.
    If I were taller, I might be a basketball player.

    I understand these sentences are different in meanings and grammatically correct but when my teacher asked me to do it in a gap filling exercise, what should I fill in?

    If I were taller, I ______________ (be) a basketball player.

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    #2

    Re: Modal in conditional #2; would, could, might

    The best answer for that gapfill is 'could', but you can also use 'might'. I think 'could' is the best answer because 'could' expresses possibility, so it is the most natural sounding in this situation.

    Personally, I think the gap fill exercise is poorly written though.

    I took your question and turned it into a blog article, anyone that wants more information please read about conditionals with subjunctive here.
    Last edited by macanudo; 15-Nov-2010 at 15:36. Reason: Added link to more info


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    #3

    Re: Modal in conditional #2; would, could, might

    Thank you very much. Why can I use would though

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    #4

    Re: Modal in conditional #2; would, could, might

    Quote Originally Posted by inferno1207 View Post
    Thank you very much. Why can I use would though
    A: What game do you play?
    B: I play baseball, but it's not my favourite game.
    A: What is?
    B: Basketball. If I were taller, I would be a basketball player.

    A: If you could be a professional sportsman, what would you be?
    B: Hmm, I'm not sure. If I were taller, I might be a basketball player.
    OR
    B: If I were taller, I would be a basketball player.

    All of these phrases work. But since you labelled the thread 'Conditional', your teacher might expect 'would'.

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    #5

    Re: Modal in conditional #2; would, could, might

    I wouldn't use 'would' because there doesn't seem to be a close connection. If you were taller, it is possible to be a basketball player, but you can't be 100% sure you will be a basketball player. You have to be tall, fast, good at jumping etc... to play basketball professionally or even on a high school team. In other words, you can not be 100% certain that you will be a basketball player if you were taller because it requires more skills than just being tall.
    Anyone can 'play' basketball. Only talented athletes can become basketball players. That is what I'm guessing from this limited context. It's hard to tell what the teacher wants without more information.

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