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    #1

    Is this sentence a conditional?

    If I study tonight, I can relax Saturday.

    I can only find "could" used as a conditional. I'm not sure why can isn't one too. (I'm working my way through a 30-page .pdf on conditionals as I write this, and I *will* finish reading it, so maybe it'll become clearer then--but I'm impatient now. And there are so many smart and helpful people on this message board .)

    Thanks.

  1. Hedwig's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Is this sentence a conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by donnach View Post
    If I study tonight, I can relax Saturday.

    I can only find "could" used as a conditional. I'm not sure why can isn't one too. (I'm working my way through a 30-page .pdf on conditionals as I write this, and I *will* finish reading it, so maybe it'll become clearer then--but I'm impatient now. And there are so many smart and helpful people on this message board .)

    Thanks.
    I'm not a teacher, but I'm smart and helpful.
    Strictly speaking, any sentence starting with if is a conditional sentence, because if introduces a condition.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is this sentence a conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedwig View Post
    Strictly speaking, any sentence starting with if is a conditional sentence, because if introduces a condition.
    And 'could' can be used in non-conditional sentences.

    Could I see you for a moment, please?
    I could play the piano when I was only three.

  3. Hedwig's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Is this sentence a conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    And 'could' can be used in non-conditional sentences.
    And so can can, of course.

    You can leave now that the rain has stopped.
    Marie can dance can-can.


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    #5

    Re: Is this sentence a conditional?

    I'm still working on understanding the first, second, third, and zero conditionals.

    I just realized that in my example sentence, "can" is not a conditional. It expresses ability. Maybe that's why I couldn't find can used in this format in my explanations of conditionals.

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    #6

    Re: Is this sentence a conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by donnach View Post
    I'm still working on understanding the first, second, third, and zero conditionals.

    I just realized that in my example sentence, "can" is not a conditional. It expresses ability. Maybe that's why I couldn't find can used in this format in my explanations of conditionals.
    As Hedwig said, it's 'if' that makes it a conditional. There are other ways of making a conditional, but 'if is the most common. Your example sentence is conditional, but this has nothing to do with 'can'. All of the below are examples of future possible situations - which depend on the realisation of the situation of the speaker's studying tonight:

    1.If (provided (that)/assuming (that)/as longas/etc) I study tonight, ....

    ....I will/may/can/ take it easy on Sunday.
    .... I'm taking it easy on Sunday
    ... I'm going to take it easy on Sunday.

    2. If you will study tonight, I'll let you go to the party tomorrow.

    3. If you're going to study tonight, I'll go out with Charlie.

    4. If you're studying tonight, I'm going out with Charlie.


    5. I'll fail the test unless I study tonight.

    There are countless other possible conditional sentences. The one most commonly given as as example of the first conditional is if + present, will:

    If I study tonight, I'll (I will) take it easy on Sunday.

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