# Thread: second conditional vs third conditional

1. ## second conditional vs third conditional

The great ship ,Titanic ,sailed for New York from Southampton on April 10th ,1912.

...

At that time ,however, she was not only the largest ship that had ever been built, but was regarded as unsinkable, for she had sixteen watertight compartments. Even if two of these were flooded, she would still be able to float. The tragic sinking of this great liner will always be remembered, for she went down on her first voyage with heavy loss of life.

...

The Titanic turned just in time, narrowly missing the immense wall of ice which rose over 100 feet out of the water beside her. Suddenly, there was a slight trembling sound from below, and the captain went down to see what had happened.

...

Below,the captain realized to his horror that the Titanic was sinking rapidly, for five of her sixteen watertight compartments had already been flooded!
Hi, everyone.

As we can see from the context, when the ship struck an iceberg, five, instead of two, of the sixteen watertight compartments were flooded. And the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage.

The conbination of the two facts makes it clear for us to see that we have a hypothetical past situation here.

Shouldn't we rewrite the setence in bold as:Even if two of these had been flooded, she would still have been able to float?

I can only come up with one explanation why the writer chose such a form. That is he talks of a past possibility, instead an past event that did't actually take place.

So in proper contexts, both forms many be correct. For example:

The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. A lookout spotted an iceberg right in from the ship. The ship struk the iceberg and very soon five of its sixteen watertight compartments were flooded. If two of these had been flooded, she would still have been able to float.

Do you agree with me?

Many thanks

Richard

PS:I've just realized that with even if, instead of if, here in the original text, it seems the sentence can only deal with a past possibility. Perhaps I should add that I want to know if you agree with me when if, instead of even if, is used in the sentence.

2. ## Re: second conditional vs third conditional

The second conditional makes sense to me as reporting what people were saying at the time of the voyage and before the sinking- they would have said If two tanks flood, she will still be able to float.

3. ## Re: second conditional vs third conditional

Hello, Tdol.

You seem to suggest that we have a form of report speech here. People said even if two of these were flooded, she would still be able to float. Only here People said was omitted by the author.

Can we write reported speech sentences without the main clause? By main clause I mean the part that goes like Perter said.

Richard

4. ## Re: second conditional vs third conditional

Originally Posted by cubezero3
Can we write reported speech sentences without the main clause? By main clause I mean the part that goes like Perter said.
Yes, particularly if the implication is there.

At that time ,however, she was not only the largest ship that had ever been built, but was regarded as unsinkable, for she had sixteen watertight compartments. Even if two of these were flooded, she would still be able to float.

The writer has taken us (temporarily) back in time to how people thought of the ship in 1912.

5. ## Re: second conditional vs third conditional

Originally Posted by cubezero3
Hi, everyone.

So in proper contexts, both forms many be correct.
Richard

You seem to have a very sound grasp of the facts here!

The sentence initially cited is best regarded not as a second conditional at all, but rather as a first conditional transposed into reported speech, denoting an event that, at the past time in question, was deemed a real future possibility.

#### Posting Permissions

• You may not post new threads
• You may not post replies
• You may not post attachments
• You may not edit your posts
•