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    #1

    conditionals

    The following uses the conditional (SHOULD) twice:

    "The point that i SHOULD like to impress upon their notice is that they SHOULD have the most scrupulous regard..."

    I can see why the second SHOULD is used - because this is something they should be doing, but aren't.

    It's not so clear to me why the first SHOULD is used, as this is something that the writer actually IS impressing upon their notice - to me there seems to be no SHOULD about it.

    What do any of you forum members think?


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    #2

    Re: conditionals

    The first 'should' is a downtoner. The speaker doesn't want to say (although he may well have the urge): "Now listen here, you lazy bunch!"

    A speaker often begins a speech with "Today, I should (would) like to talk about ..." rather than "Today, I am going to talk about." He wants to invite the audience to join him, rather than order them to listen to his undeniably interesting speech. "Today, I am going to talk about" is addressed to a captive, and perhaps unwilling, audience, for example in a prison or school.

    Similarly:

    "I should think this is an F-grade paper."
    rather than
    "This is an F." (you worthless waste of space)

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    #3

    Re: conditionals

    Thank you Irpond for your guidance on this matter.

    Whilst on the subject of conditionals, i have another matter i require guidance on:

    concerning the use of modals within the 'if'' clause, one text book i read seems to contradict itself. In one section it says the modal should not be used in the if clause, but later says you may do this to indicate politeness, willingness or prediction, giving the following example:

    "IF you WOULD have allowed more time, they would have done a better job"

    To me, this seems identical in meaning to the (3rd?) conditional mentioned early in the same chapter where it insists that the modal must not be used in the 'if' clause, eg:

    "If you allowed more time, they would have done a better job"

    can you (or any other forum member) please explain this apparent contradiction?

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Togher View Post
    The following uses the conditional (SHOULD) twice:



    "The point that i SHOULD like to impress upon their notice is that they SHOULD have the most scrupulous regard..."
    I agree with irpond's view. Additionally, here's a source to back it up: should - Definitions from Dictionary.com
    "[meaning] would (used to make a statement less direct or blunt): [for example] I should think you would apologize."


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    #5

    Re: conditionals

    In your first query, with these two conditionals, the sentence is better put "The point that I would like to impress upon their notice is that they should
    have the most scrupulous regard..."

    As to your second, I don't think I have an explanation for a grammar book's approach - particularly an unknown one. It seems from what you write that it is being given as an exception to a rule.

    To me the sentence given as an example is better expressed "If you had given them more time, they would have..."

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #6

    Re: conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    To me the sentence given as an example is better expressed "If you had given them more time, they would have..."
    Agreed.

    Additionally, what Richard Togher is asking is somewhat perplexing to me as well. Which one (i.e., politeness, willingness or prediction) does would indicate, and how does adding it in change the meaning here, had => would have?

    A. If you had allowed more time, they would have done a better job.

    B. If you would have allowed more time, they would have done a better job.

    The 3rd conditional (e.g., A.) is often used to express criticism or regret, which is also what B. expresses. So, they are similar in that respect (as Richard noticed), but how is A. different? Note, "could," should," "might" and "ought to" include Conditional, so you cannot combine them with "would have"--unless, that is, you're adding modality and not condition, which is how A. differs from B., but that still brings us back to this question, which one (i.e., politeness, willingness or prediction) does would indicate, and this one, how does adding it in change the meaning here?

    Good questions.

  3. Philly's Avatar

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    #7

    Re: conditionals

    I agree that it seems the grammar book is trying to illustrate exceptions to the usual rules, however I don't like the example very much. Here are some ideas about what I think the grammar book might be trying to convey:

    Politeness:
    If you would like another cup of coffee, I will be happy to get one for you.

    Willingness:
    If he would just take a stand, people would have a better opinion of him. (i.e. If he were willing to state his opinion unequivocally, people would have a better opinion of him.)

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    #8

    Re: conditionals

    I don't have the actual book at hand, so can't name it at the moment

    Looking at the reply given by Casiopea, i wonder if my confusion is based on my limited understanding of MODALITY, and the fact that the book in question doesn't seem (at least in my view) to distinguish clearly between CONDITION and MODALTY.

    The example i gave which included the modal verb in the 'if' clause: "if you would have..." is, i believe, an exact copy from the book (althogh it doesn't say whether it's referring to willingness, politeness or prediction), while the other example is my own version of the 3rd conditional.

    Maybe if Casiopea were to elababorate on how CONDITION and MODALITY differ it may help me - i'm not certain why using WOULD sometimes confers CONDITION but at other times confers MODALITY


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    #9

    Dialect

    I don't know if this is useful (or indeed true), but I seem to remember a former colleague from Wisconsin, emigrated to California, saying it was widespread and more or less standard in, I think, California, to say "If you would have told me, I would have done it" for the straight conditional "If you had told me, ... ." He himself certainly usually said 'If you would have done' without any special meaning.

    Does anyone know if there is any truth to this?
    Last edited by irpond; 16-May-2007 at 19:38. Reason: typo

  4. Philly's Avatar

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    #10

    Re: conditionals

    Yes, in informal, spoken American English, there are definitely more than just a few people who use 'would' in the if-clause of a type 3 conditional.

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