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    #1

    subjuctive mood

    Dear teachers,

    I have two questions to ask:

    No.1
    If he hadn't lived among peasants for so many years the yound writer wouldn't know them so well and he wouldn't have portrayed their life so truthfully.
    Could you please explain why "wouldn't know" instead of "wouldn't have known"?

    No.2
    If he had paid enough attention to the basic structures he would speak and write the language much better.
    Could you please explain why "would speak and write" instead of "would have spoken and written"?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang


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    #2

    Re: subjuctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I have two questions to ask:

    No.1
    If he hadn't lived among peasants for so many years the yound writer wouldn't know them so well and he wouldn't have portrayed their life so truthfully.
    Could you please explain why "wouldn't know" instead of "wouldn't have known"?

    No.2
    If he had paid enough attention to the basic structures he would speak and write the language much better.
    Could you please explain why "would speak and write" instead of "would have spoken and written"?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    These are what are called "mixed conditionals", usually taught to reasonably advanced students. In mixed conditionals, the main clause is not the tense that one would expect it to be. This is because it has to reflect the reality of a situation.
    In both cases the situation of knowing (1) and speaking and writing (2) are still true. If you had had "he wouldn't have known" and "he wouldn't have spoken and written", this would mean you were talking about a past situation, which is not the case for this part of the statement. Hope this is clear?

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    #3

    Re: subjuctive mood

    Dear naminalan,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. It is clear and I understand No.1 without doubt.

    However, I'd like to make sure I understand No.2.

    If he hadn't lived among peasants for so many years the yound writer wouldn't know them so well and he wouldn't have portrayed their life so truthfully.
    May I say first the fact is he knew them well. And "wouldn't have portrayed " is not subjunctive mood. It is a true conditional clause. That means it does not correspond with "If he hadn't lived". Is that right?

    Jiang

    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    These are what are called "mixed conditionals", usually taught to reasonably advanced students. In mixed conditionals, the main clause is not the tense that one would expect it to be. This is because it has to reflect the reality of a situation.
    In both cases the situation of knowing (1) and speaking and writing (2) are still true. If you had had "he wouldn't have known" and "he wouldn't have spoken and written", this would mean you were talking about a past situation, which is not the case for this part of the statement. Hope this is clear?

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    #4

    Re: subjuctive mood

    ***I'm not a NET***

    I would like to join the discussion and my understanding is that:

    "If he hadn't lived (but he did live) among peasants for so many years the young writer wouldn't know (but he does know) them so well and he wouldn't have portrayed (but he did portray) their life so truthfully."


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    #5

    Re: subjuctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by albertino View Post
    ***I'm not a NET***

    I would like to join the discussion and my understanding is that:

    "If he hadn't lived (but he did live) among peasants for so many years the young writer wouldn't know (but he does know) them so well and he wouldn't have portrayed (but he did portray) their life so truthfully."
    Welcome to the discussion!Your explanation is nice and clear. I'm going to answer Jiang's last question (but you're welcome to do so too of course!

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    #6

    Re: subjuctive mood

    Thank you both for sparing your time helping me. Now I understand it.
    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    Welcome to the discussion!Your explanation is nice and clear. I'm going to answer Jiang's last question (but you're welcome to do so too of course!


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    #7

    Re: subjuctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear naminalan,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. It is clear and I understand No.1 without doubt.

    However, I'd like to make sure I understand No.2.

    If he hadn't lived among peasants for so many years the yound writer wouldn't know them so well and he wouldn't have portrayed their life so truthfully.
    May I say first the fact is he knew them well. And "wouldn't have portrayed " is not subjunctive mood. It is a true conditional clause. That means it does not correspond with "If he hadn't lived". Is that right?

    Jiang
    I don't think we should confuse the subjunctive with conditionals. They are two different things*.

    If he hadn't lived among peasants for so many years the young writer wouldn't know them so well ... is an example of a mixed conditional. We've already discussed why.

    If he hadn't lived among peasants for so many years ....he wouldn't have portrayed their life so truthfully is an example of the 3rd conditional.

    *You can only talk about the subjunctive in sentences where the verb be is were instead of was: If I /he / she / it were ....

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    #8

    Re: subjuctive mood

    Dear naominalan,

    Thank you very much for your explanation! I did confused the two before you explain them to me!

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by naomimalan View Post
    I don't think we should confuse the subjunctive with conditionals. They are two different things*.

    If he hadn't lived among peasants for so many years the young writer wouldn't know them so well ... is an example of a mixed conditional. We've already discussed why.

    If he hadn't lived among peasants for so many years ....he wouldn't have portrayed their life so truthfully is an example of the 3rd conditional.

    *You can only talk about the subjunctive in sentences where the verb be is were instead of was: If I /he / she / it were ....

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