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    #1

    If-clause condition

    Hello everybody, I guess I have a problem with expressing the future in subordinate sentences again. I'll give two sentences for example:

    1. We'll talk about the matter next month,if she remembers it then.

    2. If she remembers the matter, we'll talk about it later.

    Have I correctly expressed the meaning "she will be able to recall the matter" in the if clause of the first sentence, I mean, does the if-clause express her future ability to remember. In other words I'm tempted to use "will" in the if clause or (what even better concur with the logic of my language) "will have remembered" ,what collide with the rules of usage of "will" in the if-clause. I've learned before not to use "will have" in the if clause for dear life and to use "will" in the if-clause only if the if-clause express the action AFTER the action in the main clause (e.g "If it will rain tommorow, I must take an umbrella).
    In the second sentence my intention was to express her present ability to remember in the if clause (she remembers NOW, in the sense that she know the matter). Contrasted with the first sentence this one have guite different meaning or I'm wrong?Is it possible that the form of the simple future tense express both the meaning of the future and present in the if-clause?Does it depend on the choice of the verb in the if- clause? Is it possible at all to use a state verb with the "will have" form? And would it approximatelly be the same if I rephrase the first sentence as

    We'll talk about it next month if she were to remember it then.

    ( I hope that Mr.Pedantic will not be angry with me for not having learned it for good -:). I'm curious is it possible construction in english to join subjunctive If+were and "will" in a conditional sentence,and if possible what are the typical situation for its use)

    Thanks
    Last edited by velimir; 18-Oct-2007 at 14:46.

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    #2

    Re: If-clause condition

    Hello velimir!

    So many questions in one post!

    As an ex EFL teacher, I'll try to answer a few.

    The use of the present simple tense in the if-clause does represent her ability to remember in the future, especially as you have included the word 'then', which refers to a time in the future ('next month', in this example).


    'Will' can be used in the if-clause to indicate volition, not futurity.

    e.g. If he won't follow the rules, he will be asked to leave.

    The 'won't' here means 'refuses to' (and could be replaced by 'doesn't', but without the idea of refusal); the 'will' refers to the future.

    Similarly,
    e.g. If he will not share the housework, we will give him his notice.

    Here the 'will' indicates a refusal to, or an insistence on not sharing the housework (and could be replaced by 'doesn't'); the 'will' refers to the future.

    'Will have' refers to a completed action in the future, and is not appropriate in the sentences you quote here.

    'If it will rain tomorrow, I must take an umbrella', is grammatically incorrect, and should be 'If it rains tomorrow, I will/must take an umbrella.' The weather cannot have volition, as in the above examples.

    Hope this is of some help!

    finta

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    #3

    Re: If-clause condition

    First of all thanks for your reply Finta,your explanation has helped of course. I think that complex sentences in English are sometimes too complex for me to understand , specially some grammatical subtleties which sometimes change the entire meaning of what I want to express. That's specially so if they include some kind of modality or condition. For instance,if I remove the adverb "then" from the first sentence it seems to me that I could interpret the sentence as part of the context like :

    (the secretary enters the CEO's office and tells him :)

    " Lucy asked for an appointment about a certain project matter "

    The CEO replies :

    " I said we would talk about the matter next month, if she remembers it "

    Now I don't understand what the CEO wanted to say :

    1) that he had told her already about it and maybe was a little bit vexed about her insistence. In that case i would understand the if-clause like - she remembers NOW, in the sense that she know the matter

    2) he just reiterated what he said some time earlier and in that case i would understand that the if-clause relate her future ability to remember - if she is able to remember,recall it next month then they'll talk about it.

    I hope that I've made my point clearer now.

    (The example I've thinked up by myself, and I'm proud of it . All copyright I cede te UsingEnglish.com )
    Last edited by velimir; 18-Oct-2007 at 16:47.

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    #4

    Re: If-clause condition

    Quote Originally Posted by velimir View Post
    (the secretary enters the CEO's office and tells him :)

    " Lucy asked for an appointment about a certain project matter "

    The CEO replies :

    " I said we would talk about the matter next month, if she remembers it "

    Now I don't understand what the CEO wanted to say :
    "I said we would talk about the matter next month,..."

    This is reported speech and could be directed at either the secretary or Lucy. Whether the CEO is vexed or not depends on his tone of voice and the context.

    "...if she remembers it."

    As it stands, your if-clause logically seems to refer to her future remembering that the matter is due to be discussed next month.

    If you include the word 'it', to me the 'it' refers to remembering the 'matter'.

    If you just say "if she remembers", and drop the 'it', you are suggesting that Lucy may not remember that an agreement has been made for a discussion next month.

    In either case, I think the if-clause still refers to the future.

    finta

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    #5

    Re: If-clause condition

    Thanks a lot respected teacher. I understood your explanation and thats the way I would understand the sentence if someone imparted it to me in most cases , but still I have trouble with the other way of understanding the sentence,specially when I have dropped the "it" at the end . Then I would interpret the "if" clause in a sense similar to : ..., does she remember ? or...doesn't she remember ? I mean, in my mind ,the "if" clause wouldn't have no future connotation, unlike the first meaning where the "if" clause would clearly refer to her remembering in the future.

    Thanks again and best regards

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