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    #1

    Mr Clinton

    Mr Clinton is not the president of the USA.

    If he were the president, he would do ...

    If he was the president, he would do ...

    If he had been the president, he would do ...

    What is the correct one?
    I appreciate your help.

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    #2

    Re: Mr Clinton

    NOT A TEACHER

    Hello, Tina:

    1. Just a gentle reminder that in American English, one always uses a period after "Mr." For example, "Mr. Clinton visited our school."

    2. "If he were the president, he would ask Congress to give free ice cream to all of us."

    a. The "were" is the subjunctive. He is NOT the president, so traditionally one should use the subjunctive. For example: I am NOT intelligent, but I wish (that) I were intelligent.

    b. It seems that the subjunctive is still quite popular in the United States.

    3. "If he was the president, he would ...."

    a. This is how many people would say that sentence. In other words, they would NOT use the subjunctive. For many people, "was" sounds more "natural." ("I wish I was / were intelligent.")

    4. Mr. Clinton was NOT the president in 1950. But if he had been the president, he would have asked the Congress to give us all free ice cream.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Mr Clinton

    We don't use a full stop (period) after 'Mr' in BrE.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 01-Aug-2016 at 18:24. Reason: Fixed typo

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    #4

    Re: Mr Clinton

    Quote Originally Posted by Tina3 View Post
    If he had been the president, he would do ...
    This one would require a specialised context to have a chance of working as he was president, and it is unlikely to write a sentence like this, where the second half refers to an imaginary president. The example TheParser gives is a regular third conditional, and that requires an extra time reference. The version you give would only work with extra context IMO.

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    #5

    Re: Mr Clinton

    Thanks

    Mr. Reagan is dead.

    If you use the name of Mr. Reagan, what is the proper sentence?

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Mr Clinton

    Are you asking if "Mr Reagan is dead" is a correct sentence?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Mr Clinton

    No
    I want to replace the name Clinton with Reagan.

    Reagan is not alive.

    What is the correct sentence if you use Reagan here?

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    #8

    Re: Mr Clinton

    I think we'll be able to help you better if you tell us what comes after "he would ..." in the original sentences. I assume that you are talking about what Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan would do if they were still president now but I'm not really sure.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: Mr Clinton

    The fact that Mr Reagan is dead does not affect the fact that he was president, so I would not use had been for him either.

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    #10

    Re: Mr Clinton

    Thanks

    My question is on subjunctive aspects.

    Mr. Reagan is dead.

    Today we write, for example, the following:

    If Reagan had been the president, he would send the US troops to Syria and Iraq to fight against IS.

    I think if a person is dead, we must use 'had been'

    However, the following is correct
    If Mr Reagan were alive, he would be 105.

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