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    #1

    Past real conditional

    Hello all,

    So, imagine a situation concerning filling in a questionnaire. There are some answer choices in question no. 1 and if you choose 'yes', you will be supposed to answer question no. 2. If you choose 'I don't know', you can skip question no. 2.

    Now let's look at some conditional sentences about this situation.

    Present real conditional - If I choose 'yes', I will be asked to answer the second question, too.

    Present hypothetical conditional (because, for example, I want to express that I wouldn't choose 'yes' because that would be totally untrue for me) - If I chose 'yes', I would be asked to answer....

    Past hypothetical conditional - If I had chosen 'yes', I would have been asked to answer...

    But I'd like to know how about past real conditional -

    If a respondent ........ 'yes', they....

    I'm a bit confused about this. I've tried to google out something but as for 'past real conditional' I found information that it is used to describe things that used to be and have changed since then. E.g. 'If we needed to make a call, we used to use a pay phone.'

    But this sentence of mine about the respondent having answered 'yes' is not about what used to be, but about what happened only one time. On the other hand, it is not either an unreal conditional because I know that some of the respondents really chose 'yes'. So what should a sentence for it look like? Please, help me. You can also write other example sentences about past real conditional, if you can think of any.

    Thank you very much :)

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Past real conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by mafto View Post
    Hello all,

    So, imagine a situation concerning filling in a questionnaire. There are some answer choices in question no. 1 and if you choose 'yes', you will be supposed to answer question no. 2. If you choose 'I don't know', you can skip question no. 2.

    Now let's look at some conditional sentences about this situation.

    Present real conditional - If I choose 'yes', I will be asked to answer the second question, too.

    Present hypothetical conditional (because, for example, I want to express that I wouldn't choose 'yes' because that would be totally untrue for me) - If I chose 'yes', I would be asked to answer....

    Past hypothetical conditional - If I had chosen 'yes', I would have been asked to answer...

    But I'd like to know how about past real conditional -

    If a respondent ........ 'yes', they....

    I'm a bit confused about this. I've tried to google out something but as for 'past real conditional' I found information that it is used to describe things that used to be and have changed since then. E.g. 'If we needed to make a call, we used to use a pay phone.'

    But this sentence of mine about the respondent having answered 'yes' is not about what used to be, but about what happened only one time. On the other hand, it is not either an unreal conditional because I know that some of the respondents really chose 'yes'. So what should a sentence for it look like? Please, help me. You can also write other example sentences about past real conditional, if you can think of any.

    Thank you very much :)
    "If a respondant answered "yes", they were asked to..."

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Past real conditional

    It is possible, to say:

    If a respondent answered 'yes', they would be asked to ...

    Unlike 'used to', 'would' does not necessarily imply that the situation has changed, but, in my opinion, it does imply that more than one respondent answered, or that one respondent answered more than once.

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    #4

    Re: Past real conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    It is possible, to say:

    If a respondent answered 'yes', they would be asked to ...

    Unlike 'used to', 'would' does not necessarily imply that the situation has changed, but, in my opinion, it does imply that more than one respondent answered, or that one respondent answered more than once.
    So in such cases we have to understand whether it is a past real conditional or present 2nd conditional only on the basis of the context?

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Past real conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by mafto View Post
    So in such cases we have to understand whether it is a past real conditional or present 2nd conditional only on the basis of the context?
    Yes.

    Taken out of context, it is impossible to say, though the second conditional meaning is far more commonly heard and seen.

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    #6

    Re: Past real conditional

    Thank you both for your answers.
    I've got another question.

    If we have in the present a sentence like this: If any respondent wants to comment on some issue from the questionnaire, they can do so here.

    When talking about it in the past, would it be If any respondent wanted to comment on some issue from the questionnaire, they could do so in question no. 10.?

    Just a simple shift of tenses?

  4. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Past real conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by mafto View Post
    Thank you both for your answers.
    I've got another question.

    If we have in the present a sentence like this: If any respondent wants to comment on some issue from the questionnaire, they can do so here.

    When talking about it in the past, would it be If any respondent wanted to comment on some issue from the questionnaire, they could do so in question no. 10.?

    Just a simple shift of tenses?
    If any respondent wanted to comment on some issue from the questionnaire, they could do so in question no. 10.?
    Since it's now in the past, it's no longer possible for them to comment, I would use "...could have done so..."

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    #8

    Re: Past real conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    If any respondent wanted to comment on some issue from the questionnaire, they could do so in question no. 10.?
    Since it's now in the past, it's no longer possible for them to comment, I would use "...could have done so..."
    OK. Thank you. I though "could have done so" meant that no-one did so, though they had an opportunity.
    But if I get you right, it can be used also when some of them commented and some did not.

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Past real conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by mafto View Post
    If we have in the present a sentence like this: If any respondent wants to comment on some issue from the questionnaire, they can do so here.

    When talking about it in the past, would it be If any respondent wanted to comment on some issue from the questionnaire, they could do so in question no. 10.?

    Just a simple shift of tenses?
    This is one of those rare occasions when I do not agree with bhaisahab.

    I feel that your version (above) suggests that they had the opportunity to comment. Whether they did so or not is not stated. This is a past-time shift of a first conditional, such as we more commonly see in reported speech. It is, I feel what you intended, and it is acceptable.

    Bhai's version, If any respondent wanted to comment on some issue from the questionnaire, they could have done so do so in question no. 10, is more like a counterfactual third conditional. They had the opportunity, but did not avail themselves of it. This is acceptable, but it has a different meaning from the one I think you intended.

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