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  1. sky3120's Avatar
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    #1

    Mixed conditionals

    A: There is no such thing as time travel.


    B: Well, there is.


    A: No, there is not. Because if there were, a class-one senior agent such as myself would have been aware of it, wouldn't he have?


    This is the dialogue of a movie and I was wondering if the structure of "Because if there were, a class-one senior agent such as myself would have been aware of it" is possible in daily conversations or only in the movie context, it was used peculiarly?


    Thank you so much as usual for your time and help.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Mixed conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by sky3120 View Post
    A: There is no such thing as time travel.


    B: Well, there is.


    A: No, there is not. Because if there were, a class-one senior agent such as myself would have been aware of it, wouldn't he have?


    This is the dialogue of a movie and I was wondering if the structure of "Because if there were, a class-one senior agent such as myself would have been aware of it" is possible in daily conversations or only in the movie context, it was used peculiarly?


    Thank you so much as usual for your time and help.
    It's normal English.

  3. sky3120's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Mixed conditionals

    "If there were time travel, we would be aware of it."

    "If there had been time travel, we would have been aware of it."

    They are grammatically correct, aren't they? Or is there a special case for "there is" structure here? Thank you so much.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Mixed conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by sky3120 View Post
    "If there were time travel, we would be aware of it."

    "If there had been time travel, we would have been aware of it."

    They are grammatically correct, aren't they? Or is there a special case for "there is" structure here? Thank you so much.
    Yes, they are correct.

  5. sky3120's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Mixed conditionals

    Thank you so much, but I am a little bit confused now because you say that the structure of "If there were, a class-one senior agent such as myself would have been aware of it" is okay and it is normal English. I think we should choose one structure
    between the two examples above. What do you think? Thank you and I am sorry for taking your time a lot.

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Mixed conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by sky3120 View Post
    Thank you so much, but I am a little bit confused now because you say that the structure of "If there were, a class-one senior agent such as myself would have been aware of it" is okay and it is normal English. I think we should choose one structure
    between the two examples above. What do you think? Thank you and I am sorry for taking your time a lot.
    I would have used "would be" in your example in your first post rather than "would have been".
    "If there were time travel, I would be aware of it." But the agent might be referring to a time in the past, eg. "when I was in the service", in which case "would have been" might be preferable.
    Is that what you mean?

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    #7

    Re: Mixed conditionals

    If there had been a rule, a class-one senior agent such as myself would have been aware of it. = If the rule existed in the past
    If there were a rule, a class-one senior agent such as myself would have been aware of it. = this mixes the conditionals- the first part implies that the rule still exists (and did in the past) and the second that the person would have been informed in the past

  7. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Mixed conditionals

    Men In Black III.
    Remember that dialogue is written for characters to speak, and that characters in a movie, like people in real life, do not sit down and diagram their sentences with a careful analysis of case, tense, and voice. Real people speak spontaneously. A believable actor makes his character sounds like he is speaking spontaneously and a skilled script writer writes dialogue that sounds spontaneous.

    One of the reasons that non-native-speakers' stories sound so wrong is that they use proper grammar for all the dialogue. (Or they go the other way and speak in so much slang and idiom that they are not credible that way either.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. sky3120's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Mixed conditionals

    I am really impressed with great answers from great people here and I am weeping now with happiness. Thank you

    "characters in a movie, like people in real life, do not sit down and diagram their sentences with a careful analysis of case, tense, and voice."

    Although I think I got it right, I would like to make sure the meaning of the sentence is that people in real life do sit down and diagram their sentences...or not.

    Sometimes the usage of like makes me so confused, so what did you mean by it? Thank you so much for your help and time.

  9. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Mixed conditionals

    Neither real-life people NOR characters in movies do this.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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