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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Hypothetical situations in the present

    1) What if pollution got so bad that the private ownership of cars was banned - what would happen?
    2) What if pollution got so bad that the private ownership of cars would / could be banned - what would happen?


    Is it possible to use "would/could" in the complex "if-clause" like in the 2nd sentence? Or only the past forms of verbs are correct (sentence # 1)?
    Thank you in advance for your answer.
    Last edited by Svet_Lana; 12-Jan-2015 at 14:26.

  2. Key Member
    English Teacher
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    #2

    Re: Hypothetical situations in the present

    This is to all extents a second conditional sentence. The first sentence is correct because it includes past tense verb forms. The second sentence is not correct in any sense with those modals.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Hypothetical situations in the present

    I prefer the subjunctive form "were" in the first sentence.

  4. Newbie
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    #4

    Re: Hypothetical situations in the present

    Thank you very much for you clear and helpful explanation. I have a better understanding of the issue now. Hope so ...

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