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Thread: if-phrase

    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 30


    i'm confused with the rules on if-phrase....not sure when to use present tense and past tense....

    things like : if I find
    if I found

    i know it has something to do with possibilities...please help...give me different situations..thanks!

  1. sheena55ro

    Re: if-phrase

    if-clause type I
    ex. If I find the key, I`ll enter the house

    if-clause type II
    ex. If I found the key, I could enter the house[ but I do not know if I`ll find it]

    if -clause type III
    ex. If I had found the key, I could have entered the house [ but I did not find it].

    Search the web for IF CLAUSE

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: if-phrase

    You use the present tense in the if-clause if there is a real possibility that the condition may come true:

    If Germany wins the World Cup... (they might win)
    If she has found the letter... (it's possible that she has found it)

    But you use the past tense if the if-clause cannot possibly be true:

    If aliens landed in Huddersfield... (but I don't believe that aliens exist)
    If Germany had won the war... (but they didn't)

    Notice that we use the simple tenses to speak about the future, and the perfect tenses to speak about the past.

  3. sheena55ro

    Re: if-phrase

    Thank you for the examples given, but can I say.."If she has found the letter, she will be able to answer to her aunt." ? [or "could answer..."]? Which tense is correct in this case?

    What shall I use? future simple or future in the past? or both with differences in meaning?

    Thank you.

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