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    #1

    2nd/3rd conditional

    Hello all.

    I am reading a book from S. King and don't understand the way of using 2nd conditional there:

    Chris and Teddy were a long way in front, almost halfway across the bridge. Vern was between them and me. I had to go on. If I turned (had turned) back, I would be (would have been) a pussy for life.


    He was dead and he was all alone, and I realized that if I didn't stop thinking (hadn't stopped thinking) about it I was going to cry. ( I would have cried - I would have been going to cry - not sure whether this is correct)

    What leads the writer to use 2nd and not 3rd conditional? Isn't it wrong? What he wants to emphasise?

    Thank you
    Last edited by Dominik92; 27-Oct-2015 at 20:27. Reason: want- wants

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: 2nd/3rd conditional

    No, it's not wrong. He did it for a few reasons:
    - The past perfect isn't necessary.
    - Stephen King readers don't need complicated writing when they can get simple writing.
    - It gives a sense of immediacy and presence. (the most important reason).

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: 2nd/3rd conditional

    The writer is presenting as reported speech/thoughts his actual thoughts, and backshifting the tenses. His thoughts at the time were:

    If I turn back, I will be ...
    If I don't stop thinking ..., I am going to cry.

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    #4

    Re: 2nd/3rd conditional

    He is afraid that if he doesn't keep going his buddies will make fun of him. And (he thinks) that ten years in the future (or whenever) they will still be making fun of him for that.

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    #5

    Re: 2nd/3rd conditional

    Stand By Me by Stephen King. Great short story and, just for once for his books, a film version that's almost as good.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: 2nd/3rd conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    The writer is presenting as reported speech/thoughts his actual thoughts, and backshifting the tenses. His thoughts at the time were:

    If I turn back, I will be ...
    If I don't stop thinking ..., I am going to cry.
    The thing which confused me the most was that it is all in the past tenses. It seems to me that King is viewing things from the perspective of a few years since they happened - past simple. Therefore it surprises me that he suddenly starts looking at things from the perspective as if he were there now even though the sentence before or even the first part of the sentence brfore that conditional was viewed otherwise. What's more sometimes the writer uses the 3rd conditional almost in the same cases as he used the 2nd in my sentences above.

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    #7

    Re: 2nd/3rd conditional

    Stephen King has a very unique way of writing (in my opinion). He makes the reader put himself in the place of the character very effectively. I honestly think that parsing his writing will leave you dissatisfied. Just read his works - they're incredible.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #8

    Re: 2nd/3rd conditional

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    very unique

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    #9

    Re: 2nd/3rd conditional

    Ha ha! You got me! I started to type "very particular" and changed my mind after I'd typed "very".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #10

    Re: 2nd/3rd conditional

    I believe you.

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