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    #1

    Conditional

    "If he were/had been alive, he would beat/he would have beaten all these guys"
    Which one is the best for adjective "alive"? 2nd or 3rd conditional?

    Note: "He" is dead
    Last edited by Checkmate; 13-Oct-2014 at 01:52.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Conditional

    If he were alive he would beat all these guys. This statement is about the present.
    If he had been alive he would have beaten all these guys. This statement is about some time in the past.

    Neither is better than the other. The correct form depends on whether the speaker is talking about the present or the past.

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    #3

    Re: Conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    If he were alive he would beat all these guys. This statement is about the present.
    If he had been alive he would have beaten all these guys. This statement is about some time in the past.

    Neither is better than the other. The correct form depends on whether the speaker is talking about the present or the past.
    "were" is used to talk about present situation?
    "had been" is used to talk about past situation?

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Conditional

    I would say 'yes' to both, but I am not a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: Conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I would say 'yes to both, but I am not a teacher.
    If I say "were", it looks like something would happen in future but it's impossible
    But "had been" is used when you want something in the past to be different

    "Alive" has all above, that's why I don't know which one is right

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Conditional

    Not a teacher.

    If 'beating the guys' would happen in the present, then use the second conditional.
    If 'beating the guys' would have happened in the past, then use the third conditional.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

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    #7

    Re: Conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    Not a teacher.

    If 'beating the guys' would happen in the present, then use the second conditional.
    If 'beating the guys' would have happened in the past, then use the third conditional.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    I'm not sure but it might be right.

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    #8

    Re: Conditional

    I think Probus and Mr Wai are correct.

    Let's imagine "he" is a boxer in the 1920s. If you are comparing him to other boxers in the present day, then you have to use the 2nd conditional because you are imagining a present day reality which is untrue or unreal.

    If you are comparing him to other boxers in the 1960s, then you would have to use the 3rd conditional because you are imagining a past reality that is unreal.

    Both versions could use a time indicator to clarify their meaning, but the context should tell you which is applicable in the situation.

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    #9

    Re: Conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by Checkmate View Post
    "were" is used to talk about present situation?

    Yes, with the proviso that "were" indicates the subjunctive mood. You could also say "if he was alive", the indicative mood. I am told by my BrE speaking colleagues that the subjunctive has pretty much died out where they live, but it is still often heard in North America.

    "had been" is used to talk about past situation?

    Yes, when you are talking about the past and wish to refer to something even farther past.
    :)


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