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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    hypothetical - unlikely or probable or counterfactual?

    In A, "if it were fine tomorrow" seems to have some possibility, though a little, but in B, "I would retire next year" seems like a counterfactual thing.
    Sometimes I'm confused with the meaning of "hypothetical". From scientific perspetive, it seems like a possible result, but these two and others in conditionals make more sense to me.
    Is there only one definition or more for "hypothetical"?

    A.Hypothetical Conditionals, future time
    When speakers present an action or state in hypothetical conditional terms, they are stating that
    the hypothetical [non-]occurrence or [non]-existence of a future action or state is a consequence
    of some unlikely, hypothetical prior action or state:
    1. If it were fine tomorrow, we would have a barbecue


    B.Counterfactual Conditionals
    1. Present counterfactual state, future hypothetical consequence:
    I would retire next year if I had more savings (now).

  2. keannu's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: hypothetical - unlikely or probable or counterfactual?

    If this is too hard to answer, could you just tell me the difference between "hypothetical" and "predictive"? Which has a higher chance?

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    #3

    Re: hypothetical - unlikely or probable or counterfactual?

    If it were fine tomorrow


    I can't imagine a situation where someone would talk about tomorrow's weather like that.

    Now, maybe in July (when it's Summer) someone might say "If it were to snow tomorrow, we could go skiing." Then it is clearly a situation that is in the future and yet counter factual.

    To answer your question, I would think that "predictive" is more likely to happen than "hypothetical."

  3. keannu's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: hypothetical - unlikely or probable or counterfactual?

    My first encounter with "hypothesis" or "hypothetical" was with scientific ones, which claim something is true based on actual facts and experiments. So scientific ones seem to denote more real and actual thoeries, but liguistic terms seem to denote more imaginary, less real ones, which confuse me.

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    #5

    Re: hypothetical - unlikely or probable or counterfactual?

    A scientific "hypothesis" is unproven when it is made. An experiment is set up to test the hypothesis and to see if it is true or false.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: hypothetical - unlikely or probable or counterfactual?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    [COLOR=#333333]Now, maybe in July (when it's Summer) someone might say "If it were to snow tomorrow, we could go skiing." Then it is clearly a situation that is in the future and yet counter factual.
    Tomorrow's weather has not occurred yet, so we can't say it's counterfactual. The possibility of snow may be infinitesimal, but it's still there.

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    #7

    Re: hypothetical - unlikely or probable or counterfactual?

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I can't imagine a situation where someone would talk about tomorrow's weather like that.
    A pessimist might, but the first conditional strikes me as a more natural form to use.

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