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    #1

    Modal Auxilliaries grammatical in the 1st conditional 'if'-clause?

    "If I can get a haircut this weekend, I'll go to the party."

    this sentence seems fine, but I haven't seen any examples on line showing a modal auxiliary in the 'if-clause'. Is it grammatical?

    Thank you for any help.

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    #2

    Re: Modal Auxilliaries grammatical in the 1st conditional 'if'-clause?

    Quote Originally Posted by skelerobo View Post
    "If I can get a haircut this weekend, I'll go to the party."

    this sentence seems fine, but I haven't seen any examples on line showing a modal auxiliary in the 'if-clause'. Is it grammatical?

    Thank you for any help.
    Yes, conditional sentences with "If I can/could ..." are common.
    Don't use "If I will/would ...".
    The other modals are possible, but more difficult: should, may/might.

    PS: You have your native language listed as English. Is it?

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    #3

    Re: Modal Auxilliaries grammatical in the 1st conditional 'if'-clause?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****(1) I found something that may interest you. Two scholars give these examples:

    Future Conditional
    If it rains, I will stay at home.

    Hypothetical Conditional
    If it should/were to rain, I will stay at home.

    They explain that the hypothetical conditional is "weaker." That is, there is less possibility of rain.

    Source: The Grammar Book (1983 edition) by Mesdames Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman.

    *****

    (2) The is only my guess:

    (a) If I get a haircut, I will come to your party.

    (b) If I can get a haircut, I will come to your party.

    (i) Maybe this sentence indicates less possibility of my getting a haircut.

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    #4

    Re: Modal Auxilliaries grammatical in the 1st conditional 'if'-clause?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Yes, conditional sentences with "If I can/could ..." are common.
    Don't use "If I will/would ...".
    The other modals are possible, but more difficult: should, may/might.

    PS: You have your native language listed as English. Is it?
    Thank you for your replies; they're very helpful

    Yes, I'm a native speaker of English (Can't always rest on your NS English laurels, when you're teaching the grammar, I'm afraid, for me at least.)

    How about this sentence?:

    -'If you can have dinner with a famous person, who will you choose?'

    This sentence is in the 1st conditional but it doesn't 'sit right' for me. 'Having dinner with a famous person' is a distinctly fantastic/ unreal experience, so I'm guessing for that reason the sentence must be rendered in the 2nd conditional

    -'If you could have dinner with a famous person, who would you choose?'

    To your knowledge, is the 1st conditional in the above example ungrammatical given the context? This is what led me to question if modal aux. verbs are possible in the 'if-clause' of the 1st conditional in the first place.

    Thank you for any feedback.

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    #5

    Re: Modal Auxilliaries grammatical in the 1st conditional 'if'-clause?

    Quote Originally Posted by skelerobo View Post
    Thank you for your replies; they're very helpful

    Yes, I'm a native speaker of English (Can't always rest on your NS English laurels, when you're teaching the grammar, I'm afraid, for me at least.)

    How about this sentence?:

    -'If you can have dinner with a famous person, who will you choose?'
    It's unusual, and there'd be almost no context for it, but it is grammatical in the right context. Yes, it's first conditional.

    This sentence is in the 1st conditional but it doesn't 'sit right' for me. 'Having dinner with a famous person' is a distinctly fantastic/ unreal experience, so I'm guessing for that reason the sentence must be rendered in the 2nd conditional

    -'If you could have dinner with a famous person, who would you choose?'
    This is in the second conditional; it would be far more common. But it's a different sentence with a different meaning from the first.

    To your knowledge, is the 1st conditional in the above example ungrammatical given the context?
    We don't have a context. We only have your sentences.

    This is what led me to question if modal aux. verbs are possible in the 'if-clause' of the 1st conditional in the first place.
    Oh, I thought you were asking whether
    "If I can get a haircut this weekend, I'll go to the party" was grammatical or not. Did you really doubt this?

    Thank you for any feedback.
    The first sentence would need a different context to make it correct than the second one would.

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    #6

    Re: Modal Auxilliaries grammatical in the 1st conditional 'if'-clause?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    The first sentence would need a different context to make it correct than the second one would.
    Thanks for the explanation. Yes I had doubt enough to post on this forum. When I teach English I prefer get my story straight :)

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