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    #1

    if would, then would

    Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales, should be a native English speaker. He wrote the following sentence:

    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users would donate $1 each, we would have 20 times the amount of money we need.

    Why is would used in the if clause as well as in the main clause? All English textbooks tell us to use past simple tense in the if clause. What's the difference here?

    Thanks,

  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: if would, then would

    ***Neither a teacher nor a native speaker.***

    I guess it's possible but not fully correct.
    So it should be:
    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users donated $1 each, we would have 20 times the amount of money we need.
    (In my opinion.)

    But let's see what the others will say...

    P.S: I believe TheParser replied to a similar question once.

    Cheers!

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    #3

    Re: if would, then would

    /A learner/

    Quote Originally Posted by enthink View Post
    Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales, should be a native English speaker. He wrote the following sentence:

    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users would donate $1 each, we would have 20 times the amount of money we need.

    Why is would used in the if clause as well as in the main clause? All English textbooks tell us to use past simple tense in the if clause. What's the difference here?

    Thanks,
    He said sentence that way because he likes to ask the users very politely to donate as much as they want to or can. The core is that he wanted to say how useful the site is.
    The suggested past subjunctive in the form of the simple past would work grammatically but it could be taken by the users as a founders' huff.
    Last edited by e2e4; 18-Dec-2010 at 21:19.

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    #4

    Re: if would, then would

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    I guess it's possible but not fully correct.
    It's absolutely correct. It might become easier to understand if you would think of the "would" in the if-clause as of the past form of "will" meaning "choose/have the willingness to".

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    #5

    Re: if would, then would

    What do you mean?
    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users will donate $1 each, we will have 20 times the amount of money we need.
    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users would donate $1 each, we would have 20 times the amount of money we need.
    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users donate $1 each, we will have 20 times the amount of money we need.
    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users donated $1 each, we would have 20 times the amount of money we need.

    Are all those sentences grammatically correct?
    I'm not sure if I understood you...

    Cheers!

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    #6

    Re: if would, then would

    Yes, they're all grammatically correct.

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    #7

    Re: if would, then would

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    What do you mean?
    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users will donate $1 each, we will have 20 times the amount of money we need.
    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users would donate $1 each, we would have 20 times the amount of money we need.
    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users donate $1 each, we will have 20 times the amount of money we need.
    If all of Wikipedia's 400 million users donated $1 each, we would have 20 times the amount of money we need.

    Are all those sentences grammatically correct?
    I'm not sure if I understood you...

    Cheers!
    Yes, they are all correct. Take the sentence with "would donate" and change it to "were willing to". That's what it means.

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    #8

    Re: if would, then would

    Thanks. So it's a polite form, probably formal?

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    #9

    Re: if would, then would

    Quote Originally Posted by enthink View Post
    Thanks. So it's a polite form, probably formal?
    Polite, yes, not particularly formal.

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    #10

    Re: if would, then would

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    not particularly formal.
    What do you mean by that? Would two young people use it normally in an informal conversation they are having privately? Or would they sound unnaturally formal?

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