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    #1

    if-clauses

    Hello, everyone

    I'm not sure if we can use "if-clauses" in this way:

    If he bought a VIP ticket, he will go to the first class tomorrow.(because now I don't know if he bought a ticket or not)

    If the government were going to reduce the cost last year, it will issue a statement tomorrow(because I don't know if the government were going to reduce the cost last year)

    Thanks in advance!

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    #2

    Re: if-clauses

    Your usage of "if" is fine for the first sentence, however...

    Quote Originally Posted by MOYEEA LEE View Post
    If he bought a VIP ticket, he will go to the first class tomorrow.(because now I don't know if he bought a ticket or not)
    1. Maybe you could say, "he will fly first...".
    2. "...bought a first class ticket...". Just saying "ticket" doesn't work because the point of the question is what type of ticket he bought.

    If the government were going to reduce the cost last year, it will issue a statement tomorrow(because I don't know if the government were going to reduce the cost last year)
    Your tenses are mixed up. You are trying to set up a cause/effect, but the relationship is weak. The whole thing is a little vague.

    There isn't enough context to determine definitively what you are trying to say, but I'm guessing you mean:

    "If the government really did reduce the cost last year, it will issue a statement to that effect tomorrow."

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: if-clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by MOYEEA LEE View Post
    If he bought a VIP ticket, he will ...
    I would use 'has bought' because 'bought', the past subjunctive, does not refer to the past.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: if-clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I would use 'has bought' because 'bought', the past subjunctive, does not refer to the past.
    Thanks so much for your help!

    But we still have words like "unless" " in case" " supposing" these words can give past conditions?

    Thanks so much!

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    #5

    Re: if-clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I would use 'has bought' because 'bought', the past subjunctive, does not refer to the past.
    'Bought' is not subjunctive in that sentence. It is fine. Indeed, if you add a past-time marker - If he bought a VIP ticket when he was at the travel agency - it is necessary; the present perfect would be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: if-clauses

    But there is no past-time marker in the original sentence.
    How could it be the simple past without a past-time marker?
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: if-clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    How could it be the simple past without a past-time marker?
    There is no explicit time-marker in that particular sentence. Many sentences containing a past-tense verb have no explicit time marker. Context frequently establishes the time of the situation.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: if-clauses

    1. If he bought a car, he would have no money to pay rent.
    2. If he bought a car, he will have no money to pay rent.

    'Bought' is subjunctive in 1. How about 2?
    I would add 'has' in 2 if the conditional clause refers to the past.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #9

    Re: if-clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    1. If he bought a car, he would have no money to pay rent.
    2. If he bought a car, he will have no money to pay rent.

    'Bought' is subjunctive in 1. How about 2?
    I would add 'has' in 2 if the conditional clause refers to the past.
    No, only in 1.
    The clause in sentence 1. is unreal and refers to imaginary time whereas in sentence 2. it refers to real past time.

    Your suggestion of has bought is okay grammatically, and sounds good but not exactly the same.

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    #10

    Re: if-clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    1. If he bought a car, he would have no money to pay rent.

    'Bought' is subjunctive in 1.
    AS BE is the only verb in English that has a distinct subjunctive form, and then only in the first and third person singular, and as many native speakers of British English do not use the subjunctive form of BE, I see no reason at all for considering verb forms in the if- clause of second conditions 'subjunctive'.
    I doubt if as many as 10% of speakers of BrE even know the word 'subjunctive'.

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