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    • Join Date: Nov 2003
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    #1

    subjunctive mood

    Dear teachers,

    The following sentences are translated from Chinese into English. Could you please explain which sentence is correct:

    1. Do you think the boy would be found guilty if he is tried by another jury?
    2. Do you think the boy would be found guilty if he were tried by another jury?
    3. Do you think the boy would be found guilty if he were to be tried by another jury?

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

    Jiang


    • Join Date: May 2008
    • Posts: 810
    #2

    Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,

    The following sentences are translated from Chinese into English. Could you please explain which sentence is correct:

    1. Do you think the boy would be found guilty if he is tried by another jury?
    2. Do you think the boy would be found guilty if he were tried by another jury?
    3. Do you think the boy would be found guilty if he were to be tried by another jury?

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

    Jiang
    Number 1 looks like it should be in the form of a 1st conditional. If it were a 1st conditional construction it would look like this:

    Do you think the boy will be found guilty if he is tried by another jury?

    With regards to 2 & 3, the full infinitve to be is optional: both sentences are grammatical.

    Which construction you choose (1st or 2nd conditional) depends on context; the 1st conditional implies that the the retrail is a possiblity, whereas the 2nd conditional expresses more of a hypothetical sense, and doesn't rely on the retrail as being a possible reality.

    For instance, if the trail had finished, but a sucessful appeal has been made for a retrial, you would probably ask the question using the 1st conditional; you would be asking about a possibility.

    However if the trail had finished and there was no chance of a retrial, you would probably use the 2nd conditional: you would be speaking about something impossible, but enquiring about the possibity in a hypothetical sense: based on present evidence this cannot happen, but if it could, how would it happen?.
    Last edited by colloquium; 13-Nov-2008 at 14:40.

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