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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    weird conditional

    Is this conditional 2 from the past's point of view? Is it like..
    (The information was) if the newspaper printed this information, there could be a lot of trouble....
    I know there're could be numerous type of conditionals as 5jedon taught me, so I'm trying to verify it.

    ex)In 1971, the editors of the Washington Post had a very serious meeting. They had top-secret information about a government plan to continue the Vietnam War. If the newspaper printed this information, there could be a lot of trouble. They discussed it again and again. Finally, they decided to put the report in the paper.
    Last edited by keannu; 19-Oct-2011 at 17:10.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: weired conditional

    It is an implied reported conditional. We cannot tell whether the orginal was a first or second conditional.

  3. keannu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: weired conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    It is an implied reported conditional. We cannot tell whether the orginal was a first or second conditional.
    It's really confusing, but now I can't help but interpret as the following.as you taught me.
    1.They thought "if the newspaper prints this information, there cab be a lot of trouble"(factual future-conditional1)
    or 2. They thought "if the newspaper printed this information, there coulb be a lot of trouble"(counter factual future- conditional2)

    This was quite confusing as I tried to interpret it as factual past(conditional1)
    "If the newspaper printed this information, there was a lot of trouble" (without any reported speech form, totally a thought by the writer)
    => They don't know if the newspaper printed this information, so accordingly what happened either.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: weired conditional

    keannu, you cause some of the confusion by the terms you use.
    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    It's
    1.They thought "if the newspaper prints this information, there cabn be a lot of trouble"(factual future-conditional1)
    If it is a a conditional sentence, it cannot be 'factual'. There is a real possibility of the newspaper printing the story, but, until it is printed, the printing is not a fact.
    Note that even when talking about a real future possibility in the if-clause, could is probably more likely than can in the other clause, with the meaning of possibility (with no suggestion of ability).
    or 2. They thought "if the newspaper printed this information, there coulb be a lot of trouble"(counter factual future- conditional2)
    If we are referring to the future, then we cannot say it is counterfactual, because we don't know yet.

    This was quite confusing as I tried to interpret it as factual past(conditional1)
    If we are talking about a factual past, then it is not a first conditional sentence.
    "If the newspaper printed this information, there was a lot of trouble" (without any reported speech form, totally a thought by the writer)I'm sorry, but I just dont understand what you mean by the words in brackets, particularly those I have underlined.
    => They don't know if the newspaper printed this information, so accordingly what happened either.

  5. keannu's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: weired conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    keannu, you cause some of the confusion by the terms you use.
    1.They thought "if the newspaper prints this information, there cabn be a lot of trouble"(factual future-conditional1)
    If it is a a conditional sentence, it cannot be 'factual'. There is a real possibility of the newspaper printing the story, but, until it is printed, the printing is not a fact.
    Note that even when talking about a real future possibility in the if-clause, could is probably more likely than can in the other clause, with the meaning of possibility (with no suggestion of ability)



    or 2. They thought "if the newspaper printed this information, there coulb be a lot of trouble"(counter factual future- conditional2)
    If we are referring to the future, then we cannot say it is counterfactual, because we don't know yet.

    This was quite confusing as I tried to interpret it as factual past(conditional1)
    If we are talking about a factual past, then it is not a first conditional sentence.
    "If the newspaper printed this information, there was a lot of trouble" (without any reported speech form, totally a thought by the writer)I'm sorry, but I just dont understand what you mean by the words in brackets, particularly those I have underlined.
    => They don't know if the newspaper printed this information, so accordingly what happened either.

    By factual, I meant unverified fact which can be either true or false.
    By counter-factual, I meant impossible or improbable(remote possibility), in this case I meant improbable
    I have the same concept about conditionals as you have, but the terms are from wikipedia and they categorize either true or false as factual conditional(conditional1) and impossible or improbable as counter-factual conditional of conditional2(present or future) and conditional3(past).
    Who would hypothize an already known fact? I know what you mean. I didn't mean it.

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: weired conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    ... the terms are from wikipedia and they categorize either true or false as factual conditional(conditional1) and impossible or improbable as counter-factual conditional of conditional2(present or future) and conditional3(past).
    It's a pity you did not provide a link to these words from wikipedia. If you have given the actual words from wikipedia, then they appear to be using them in a different way from most writers. I have a sneaking suspicion that you may not have summarised the words completely accurately.
    Last edited by 5jj; 19-Oct-2011 at 17:08.

  7. keannu's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: weired conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    It's a pity you did not provide a link to these words from wikipedia. If you have given the actual words from wikipedia, then they appear to be using them in a different way from most writers. I have a sneaking suspicuion that you may not have summarised the words completely accurately.
    Unfortunately, the link is gone, I don't know..So I will provide in the following.


    Factual


    In these constructions, the condition clause expresses a condition the truth of which is unverified. The verb in the condition clause is in the past tense (with a past tense interpretation) or in the present tense (with a present or future tense interpretation). The result clause can be in the past, present, or future. Generally, conditional sentences of this group are in two groups, the "zero conditional" and the potential or indicative conditional, often called "first conditional" or "conditional 1". This class includes universal statements (both clauses in the present, or both clauses in the past) and predictions.


    The potential or indicative conditional, often referred to as the "first conditional" or "conditional 1", is used more generally to express a hypothetical condition that is potentially true, but not yet verified. The conditional clause is in the present or past tense and refers to a state or event in the past. The result can be in the past, present, or future. Some examples with the condition clause in the past tense:
    If she took that flight yesterday, she arrived at 10pm.
    If she took that flight yesterday, she is somewhere in town today.
    If she took that flight yesterday, we'll see her tomorrow.

    A condition clause (protasis) in the present tense refers to a future event, a current event which may be true or untrue, or an event which could be verified in the future. The result can be in the past, present, or future:
    If it's raining here now, then it was raining on the West Coast this morning.
    If it's raining now, then your laundry is getting wet.



    Counterfactual


    In these constructions, the condition clause expresses a condition that is known to be false, or presented as unlikely. The result clause contains a conditional verb form consisting of would (or could, should, might) plus a main verb in the base form (infinitive without to).
    The contrary-to-fact present conditional, often referred to as the "second conditional" or "conditional 2", is used to refer to a current state or event that is known to be false or improbable. The past subjunctive (or in colloquial English, simply the past tense) must be used:


    If she were [colloq. was] at work today, she would know how to deal with this client.
    If I were [colloq. was] the king, I could have you thrown in the dungeon.

    The same structure can be used to refer to a future state or event:
    If I won the lottery, I would buy a car.
    If he said that to me, I would run away.

  8. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: weired conditional

    The main problem with the source keannu has quoted is that the writer has used terms in a rather different way from most grammars and course books - at least in the BrE world. For example: the traditional view of a first conditional sentence is that it is about a real future possibility, in which the likelihood of the realisation of one future situation depends on the realisation of some other future situation: I won't go out tomorrow if it rains. The traditional view of a zero conditional is that it is about a general truth; It is not really conditional at all ' 'if' means something similar to 'whenever': If it rains, I stay at home. (When I was on holiday last year,) if it rained, I stayed at home.

    If she took that flight yesterday, she arrived at 10pm.

    This has two possible interpretations:

    1. Granted that she took that flight yesterday, then then it is a fact that she
    arrived at 10 pm.
    2. There is a possibility that she took the flight yesterday, and a consequent possibility that she arrived at 10pm.

    While it is possible to say that the first interpretation is factual, it is not possible to say that the second is. It is not helpful to describe either of these two interpretations of the utterance as first conditional.

    We could go through all the other examples and statements in a similar way, but I will just look at one. The writer says that the counterfactual conditional, also known a
    as the 'second conditional' can refer to a future state or event. As I pointed out in a previous post, when the second conditional refers to future possibilities, then, in the present, they are possible, even if the possibilty is very slight. They are therefore not counterfactual.

    The traditional grouping of dozens of different types of conditional sentences into three classes - or five, if we include zero and mixed conditionals, may be flawed, especially as this grouping ignores some of the types of conditional sentences shown in Keannu's source. However a re-look using traditional teminology, and one which involves using words such as 'counterfactual' inaccurately, is worse, in my opinion.

    In my own writing* on conditionals, I do not use the terms 'first, second, third, zero' or 'mixed at all. I look at conditionals under the headings:1. Factual Conditionals; a. General Truths, b Habitual Acts, c. Accepted Truths; 2. Predictive Conditionals;3. Hypothetical Conditionals; 4. Counterfactual Conditionals.


    However, when I write in this forum, I try to use the traditional terminology in the traditional way; this is what most learners are used to.


    * http://www.gramorak.com/Articles/Conditionals.pdf

  9. 5jj's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: weired conditional

    Let's go back to your original question - without the labels:

    Situation 1: The editors discuss the matter and decide, "If we print this, there could be a lot of trouble". [There is a possibility of it being printed. (and a possibility of it not being printed]. In the event of it being printed, there is a possibility of there being trouble [and a possibility of there not being trouble].

    This is later reported as: They decided that if if they printed it, there could be a lot of trouble. [print can be backshifted to printed, but could cannot be backshifted. If, in the original, will (expressing certainty) had been used instead of could, then that word would have been backshifted to would].

    Situation 2: The editors discuss the matter and decide, "If we printed this, there could be a lot of trouble". [There is a hypothetical possibility of it being printed. (and a possibility of it not being printed]. In the event of it being printed, there is a possibility of there being trouble [and a possibility of there not being trouble].

    This is later reported as: They decided that if if they printed it, there could be a lot of trouble. [Neither printed nor could can be backshifted].

    Unfortunately, the reported versions of both situations are identical. This is because, if we attempt to backshift printed to had printed and could be to could have been, we end up with a reference to a past non-printing, a different situation.

    If we wish to stress the difference in the likelihood of the possibility, then we will have to use different words, such as:

    Situation 1 reported: They decided that printing was a possibility, but that it entailed a risk of trouble.

    Situation 2 reported: They decided that printing was a hypothetical possibility, but that it entailed a risk of trouble.

  10. keannu's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: weired conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    The main problem with the source keannu has quoted is that the writer has used terms in a rather different way from most grammars and course books - at least in the BrE world. For example: the traditional view of a first conditional sentence is that it is about a real future possibility, in which the likelihood of the realisation of one future situation depends on the realisation of some other future situation: I won't go out tomorrow if it rains. The traditional view of a zero conditional is that it is about a general truth; It is not really conditional at all ' 'if' means something similar to 'whenever': If it rains, I stay at home. (When I was on holiday last year,) if it rained, I stayed at home.

    If she took that flight yesterday, she arrived at 10pm.

    This has two possible interpretations:

    1. Granted that she took that flight yesterday, then then it is a fact that she
    arrived at 10 pm.
    2. There is a possibility that she took the flight yesterday, and a consequent possibility that she arrived at 10pm.

    While it is possible to say that the first interpretation is factual, it is not possible to say that the second is. It is not helpful to describe either of these two interpretations of the utterance as first conditional.

    We could go through all the other examples and statements in a similar way, but I will just look at one. The writer says that the counterfactual conditional, also known a
    as the 'second conditional' can refer to a future state or event. As I pointed out in a previous post, when the second conditional refers to future possibilities, then, in the present, they are possible, even if the possibilty is very slight. They are therefore not counterfactual.

    The traditional grouping of dozens of different types of conditional sentences into three classes - or five, if we include zero and mixed conditionals, may be flawed, especially as this grouping ignores some of the types of conditional sentences shown in Keannu's source. However a re-look using traditional teminology, and one which involves using words such as 'counterfactual' inaccurately, is worse, in my opinion.

    In my own writing* on conditionals, I do not use the terms 'first, second, third, zero' or 'mixed at all. I look at conditionals under the headings:1. Factual Conditionals; a. General Truths, b Habitual Acts, c. Accepted Truths; 2. Predictive Conditionals;3. Hypothetical Conditionals; 4. Counterfactual Conditionals.

    However, when I write in this forum, I try to use the traditional terminology in the traditional way; this is what most learners are used to.


    * http://www.gramorak.com/Articles/Conditionals.pdf
    I don't know which grammar rule to follow, but I can't understand why the following can't be categorized with "If she takes that flight tomorrow, she will arrive at 10pm" This and the following are unverified ones, but I also doubted the word "factual", maybe it's wrong, but it seems to intend to say "something that can be factual but not verified"
    ex)If she took that flight yesterday, she arrived at 10pm.

    When I learned conditionals at school, I learned only one form of real conditional(conditional1) such as "If she takes that flight tomorrow, she will arrive at 10pm"(future,future), but for so many years, I've always misinterpreted other types of conditonal1 such as 1.2 as unreal conditionals.

    1.If she took that flight yesterday, she is somewhere in town today.(past+present)
    2.If she took that flight yesterday, we'll see her tomorrow.(past+future)
    If it's raining here now, then it was raining on the West Coast this morning.(present+past)
    If it's raining now, then your laundry is getting wet.(present+present)
    If it's raining now, there will be mushrooms to pick next week.(present+future)
    If it rains this afternoon, then yesterday's weather forecast was wrong.(future+past)
    If it rains this afternoon, your garden party is doomed.(future+present)
    If it rains this afternoon, everybody will stay home.(future+future)

    Whatever the terms for conditionals are, I think these all mean unverified conditions(possible truth) extended through all tenses.
    I think it's confusing there's so many terms and divisions for conditionals, but I'd like to think these are unverified possible conditionals.
    By "counterfactual" for the future, maybe the author named it inapproriately, but I think he meant it as a broad concept to include even future conditionals that are remote possibilities.
    I'd like to know if I know something wrong, maybe the author or I categorized some conditionals wrong, but I think my understanding and 5dejon's are all the same irrespective of the terms, but I still doubt if I know some meanings wrong as he indicated.




    Last edited by keannu; 19-Oct-2011 at 17:07.

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