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    #1

    Second Conditionals

    A lady was invited on the programme to talk about her experience as a joror.

    Joshua Rozenberg:What about the lawyers in the case? What did you think of them?

    Jurywoman:In our case we had a female prosecutor and a male defence counsellor. And she was briliant. He. No one liked him, but he was really goood at his job. When they were doing their summing up, I was like "I completely believe the prosecution. I completely believe the defence." And the judge said these guys were great and they'd both one an amazing job. This is where the hard part comes, you know you have to deliberate. I came away thinking:"Oh, my god. If they weren't so good at their jobs, my decision would be easier."
    The conversation was extracted from one episode of Law in Action, a BBC Radio 4 programme.

    I think the lady should have put her words as following: If they hadn't been so good at thir jobs, my decision would have been easier.

    My argument is that this is so because the lady is referring to a specific past case, instead of making a general statement.

    Many thanks

    Richard
    Last edited by cubezero3; 10-May-2011 at 02:24.

  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Second Conditionals

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

    Hi Richard,
    Let's create another example.

    You are an actor and I have to mark/rate you.
    You are really good - this is a fact.

    In this case, I can only say:
    If you weren't so good, my decision would be easier.

    I think it's not meaningful to say, "If you aren't so good, my decision will be easier." because I'm already aware of your skills.
    Also it makes no sense to say, "If you hadn't been so good, my decision would have been easier." because it's present - we are talking about now.

    Your example is present as well, because he quotes himself.
    (While he was watching you he was thinking something.)

    One week later you ask me, "Nightmare, what do you think about my skills?"
    I say, "You are great, and I told myself, "If you weren't so good, my decision would be easier."

    I hope I could answer your question...
    If it's still unclear, just ask and I will think about it again

    Cheers!

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    #3

    Re: Second Conditionals

    If the woman was talking about the skills of lawyers in general, then the original line was correct.

    If she was referring specifically to the recent case, then your version is correct.

    ps. Note my use of tenses; it is correct.
    Last edited by curates-egg; 10-May-2011 at 02:01.

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    #4

    Re: Second Conditionals

    Thanks for your replies.

    I didn't quote the whole conversation in the first place, for I thought what I put down last night is sufficient for people to see that she was referring to the case in which she took part. My mistake.

    I've added the rest of the conversation now.

    Richard

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