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    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 1
    #1

    Use of hypothetic situations with "if..."

    What is the difference between:

    If you were to have a legal dispute, what would happen?

    If you were to have walked into a health food store twenty years ago, about the only thing you would have probably found were protein powders, a few herbs, and some vitamins.


    and

    If you had a legal dispute, whay would happen?

    If you had walked into a health food store twenty years ago, about the only thing you would have probably found were protein powders, a few herbs, and some vitamins.

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    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    #2

    Re: Use of hypothetic situations with "if..."

    With the first pair, 'If you were to have' sounds more hypothetical to me, reducing the possibility, so it could be used to try to force a discussion where the person might not wish to be seen to be recognising the possibility. It's the kind of thing you could use in an interview with a business figure or a politician to steer them into imaginary territory.

    Though we're dealing with the past, so it's hard to affect the actual possibility, it could cary the idea that the reader is the sort who wouldn't walk into one today, so the past impossibility is a bit more remote.


    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 1,335
    #3

    Re: Use of hypothetic situations with "if..."

    Hi, Wilsonpr,
    Welcome to the forum.
    I think there's little difference if any.
    In the 1st, the difference might be that the former may only denote the time before the actual dispute, while the latter - the dispute itself.
    The fist version of the 2nd sentence looks odd to me.

    Regards

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