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Thread: conditional If

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    #31

    Re: conditional If

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Piscean, I'm not interested in arguing with you about who is right. I am, however, open to friendly discussion in the spirit of learning something new from you, and/or clarifying my own thoughts on things.
    Fine. I feel similarly. That is why I wrote post #25, in which I said "It seems that we may be in general agreement after all. Am I right?"
    It would be helpful if you could re-read the paragraph ending in those two sentences and let me know how you feel about it. In the meantime, I will, briefly, address your next questions.
    I'd like to know the nature of your distinction between future hypothetical conditionals and predictive conditionals. I think that it is here that we have different views. It seems that you mean that the situations imagined are both seen by the speaker as 'possible', right? The difference being that hypothetical conditionals express 'less' possibility than predictive ones.

    Have I got that all that right?
    Pretty much. I did add that the possibility of some future situations could be infinitesimal. Just to be (I hope) clear, here are some examples of future situations:

    Predictive: If our builder finishes our flat by the date promised, we'll be settled in Beroun before Christmas.
    ...............We (my wife and I) are reasonably confident that the builders will finish our flat on time, though we accept the ...............possibility that he may not.

    Hypothetical (1): If I died before completion of the flat, my wife (I should say 'widow') would probably stay in Prague.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Having just had the results of a recent check-up, I am pretty confident that I am not going to pop my clogs in ...............the foreseeable future.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,However, my wife and I are realists, and accept the (very slight, we hope) possibility that I may get run over
    ...............before our flat is ready.

    Hypothetical (3): If I won a couple of million pounds in next week's'National Lottery, we'd move to Bermuda rather than Beroun.
    ................As I don't buy lottery tickets and, even if I did, I am not resident in the UK or Isle of Man, and physically present in the ........................UK or Isle of Man when making the ticket purchase, so I am not allowed to win, my chances of winning a couple of million pounds
    ........................are infinitesimal. But not counterfactual - yet.

    Hypothetical (4): If I woke up tomorrow and discovered that I had become a woman, I would be quite surprised.
    ..............EEven I have to concede that there is no chance of this happening. However, this no-chance situation hold for
    ................only a tiny minority of hypothetical conditional sentences


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    #32

    Re: conditional If

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    "It seems that we may be in general agreement after all. Am I right?" It would be helpful if you could re-read the paragraph ending in those two sentences and let me know how you feel about it.
    No, that's not right. I wasn't talking only about present counterfactuals. I was talking about future situations.

    In order to precisely locate where we disagree, let me make the following responses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post

    Predictive: If our builder finishes our flat by the date promised, we'll be settled in Beroun before Christmas.
    ...............We (my wife and I) are reasonably confident that the builders will finish our flat on time, though we accept the possibility that he may not.

    I don't disagree with anything above.

    Hypothetical (1): If I died before completion of the flat, my wife (I should say 'widow') would probably stay in Prague.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Having just had the results of a recent check-up, I am pretty confident that I am not going to pop my clogs in ...............the foreseeable future.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,However, my wife and I are realists, and accept the (very slight, we hope) possibility that I may get run over
    ...............before our flat is ready.
    I would make some comments about things here.

    Hypothetical (3): If I won a couple of million pounds in next week's'National Lottery, we'd move to Bermuda rather than Beroun.
    ................As I don't buy lottery tickets and, even if I did, I am not resident in the UK or Isle of Man, and physically present in the ........................UK or Isle of Man when making the ticket purchase, so I am not allowed to win, my chances of winning a couple of million pounds
    ........................are infinitesimal. But not counterfactual - yet.
    I have a problem with some things here.

    Hypothetical (4): If I woke up tomorrow and discovered that I had become a woman, I would be quite surprised.
    ..............EEven I have to concede that there is no chance of this happening. However, this no-chance situation hold for
    ................only a tiny minority of hypothetical conditional sentences
    I don't disagree with anything here, but I find it inconsistent with what you've said before. I'm not saying that it is inconsistent, but that it seems inconsistent based on my understanding of how you're looking at what counts as possible. Do you mean this really is impossible? Or do you think it is fair to say that it is vanishingly unlikely?

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    #33

    Re: conditional If

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    . Do you mean this really is impossible? Or do you think it is fair to say that it is vanishingly unlikely?
    Vanishingly unlikely.

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    #34

    Re: conditional If

    When you distinguish between 'predictive' and 'hypothetical', is it true to say that you use these terms (partly or fully) because you do not do not like the distinction that I use between 'real' and 'unreal'? I think this may be a crucial bit of terminology in any misunderstandings we may have.

    For me, these ungradable terms 'real' and 'unreal' are not equivalent to 'likely' and 'unlikely'. Things cannot be more or less real any more than they can be more or less impossible. If I'm misunderstanding you, I think it's because I've been thinking that you are calling both predictive and hypothetical statements as allowing for the speaker to consider their situations as possible. Is that correct or not? Do you think that the distinction that I'm making between real/possible and unreal/impossible is what you are making between predictive/likely and hypothetical/unlikely?

    Where you use the term 'predictive', I'm using the term 'real'. This means that if I play the lottery, it doesn't matter if my mathematical chances of winning are fifty-fifty or one in a google, it is my attitude that the future scenario in which I win is one that could be part of my reality (i.e., that it is possible). My point is that as long as a speaker is presenting the future event/situation/scenario as possible, however remote, it counts as real.

    So the difference between If I win the lottery tomorrow and If I won the lottery tomorrow is for me a question of real/unreal. They're both hypothetical in the sense that they are both so far only imagined. Do you think that only the second is hypothetical?

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    #35

    Re: conditional If

    Quote Originally Posted by abo.omar View Post
    I don't know how to say it, but when I read Mr Piscean 's post, I told myself 'it is better to say if I am rich...'I felt that , because I thought it is a strong possibility as I determined a near point of time.
    If you see being rich by Christmas as strong possibility, then 'If I am rich ... ' is natural and correct'

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    #36

    Re: conditional If

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    When you distinguish between 'predictive' and 'hypothetical', is it true to say that you use these terms (partly or fully) because you do not do not like the distinction that I use between 'real' and 'unreal'?
    No.

    If I'm misunderstanding you, I think it's because I've been thinking that you are calling both predictive and hypothetical statements as allowing for the speaker to consider their situations as possible. Is that correct or not?
    YES.
    I answered that question in post #31. My views on this were pretty clear in posts 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23


    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Do you think that the distinction that I'm making between real/possible and unreal/impossible is what you are making between predictive/likely and hypothetical/unlikely? [...]

    So the difference between If I win the lottery tomorrow and If I won the lottery tomorrow is for me a question of real/unreal. They're both hypothetical in the sense that they are both so far only imagined. Do you think that only the second is hypothetical?

    I thought we'd agreed in post #24 that we'd stick to discussing the fact that you think that when we use second conditionals, it's because we see there being no chance of the state or event happening and that I think we see some chance (though a smaller chance than if we used the first conditional). Discussion of our understanding of predictive, hypothetical, real and unreal is not relevant.

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    #37

    Re: conditional If

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    YES. I answered that question in post #31.
    I take that to be a sign of impatience. You're the one who wanted to continue the discussion. I was trying to make things clear. Please check your tone in your posts. It doesn't do you any favours.

    I thought we'd agreed in post #24 that we'd stick to discussing the fact that you think that when we use second conditionals, it's because we see there being no chance of the state or event happening and that I think we see some chance (though a smaller chance than if we used the first conditional). Discussion of our understanding of predictive, hypothetical, real and unreal is not relevant.
    Firstly, yes, it is relevant, because when I use the word no chance, I mean to say unreal/impossible. I was trying to show that this is the correct way of thinking about the difference. That is, I was attempting to justify what I said by beginning to explain what I mean. Can you see how that is completely relevant?

    Secondly, my secondary aim in this thread is also to challenge your understanding of the issue by exposing and deconstructing your distinction between 'predictive' and 'hypothetical'. At the moment, that distinction seems to be quite meaningless to me. So far it seems that you're saying the difference is one of degree of likelihood, which is not the case.

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    #38

    Re: conditional If

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    There is no need for snide remarks.


    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I take that to be a sign of impatience. You're the one who wanted to continue the discussion. I was trying to make things clear. Please check your tone in your posts. It doesn't do you any favours.
    I'll leave you at this point.
    Last edited by Piscean; 14-Apr-2019 at 17:33. Reason: format

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    #39

    Re: conditional If

    It's time to close the thread, I think.

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    #40

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