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    #1

    Smile Conditional: if + past or present?

    Dear all,

    I have two questions about the use of conditional.
    I suppose it is quite normal to say:

    "If I won the lottery, I would buy a car. "

    But when I want to express my strong belief that I am very certain that I will win the lottery, can I say:

    "If I win the lottery, I will buy a car"?


    Similarly, I know it is ok to say:

    "If it is fine tomorrow, I will go camping."

    However, when I watch a TV weather forecast which says it will rain tomorrow, and I believe in it, can I say:

    "If it was fine tomorrow, I would go camping"?


    Can you think of any other situations like those above?


    Thank you in advance!!
    Last edited by kuni; 20-Feb-2009 at 22:11.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Cool Re: Conditional: if + past or present?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuni View Post
    dear all,

    i have two questions about the use of conditional.
    I suppose it is quite normal to say:

    "if i won the lottery, i would buy a car. " a pessimist's point of view

    but when i want to express my strong belief that i am very certain that i will win the lottery, can i say:

    "if i win the lottery, i will buy a car"? an optimist's point of view


    similarly, i know it is ok to say:

    "if it is fine tomorrow, i will go camping."

    However, when i watch a tv weather forecast which says it will rain tomorrow, and i believe in it, can i say:

    "if it was fine tomorrow, i will go camping"?


    Can you think of any other situations like those above?


    Thank you in advance!!


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    #3

    Re: Conditional: if + past or present?

    But when I want to express my strong belief that I am very certain that I will win the lottery, can I say:

    "If I win the lottery, I will buy a car"?


    No - you would say (and others would realize that you were jesting, or choosing to ignore the odds in favour of a nice fantasy):
    "When I win the lottery, I will/I'll buy a car."

    However, when I watch a TV weather forecast which says it will rain tomorrow, and I believe (in-omit) it, can I say:

    "If it was fine tomorrow, I will go camping"?


    "If it had been fine tomorrow, I would have gone camping."

    Can you understand why I have used this tense form of the verb?

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Cool Re: Conditional: if + past or present?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    But when I want to express my strong belief that I am very certain that I will win the lottery, can I say:

    "If I win the lottery, I will buy a car"?


    No - you would say (and others would realize that you were jesting, or choosing to ignore the odds in favour of a nice fantasy):
    "When I win the lottery, I will/I'll buy a car."
    I daresay you're wrong about it, David. In conditional sentences of that sort you don't use when in place of if, never!



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    #5

    Re: Conditional: if + past or present?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    But when I want to express my strong belief that I am very certain that I will win the lottery, can I say:

    "If I win the lottery, I will buy a car"?


    No - you would say (and others would realize that you were jesting, or choosing to ignore the odds in favour of a nice fantasy):
    "When I win the lottery, I will/I'll buy a car."

    However, when I watch a TV weather forecast which says it will rain tomorrow, and I believe (in-omit) it, can I say:

    "If it was fine tomorrow, I will go camping"?


    "If it had been fine tomorrow, I would have gone camping."

    Can you understand why I have used this tense form of the verb?

    Hello, could you please explain why you'd use a past perfect verb tense
    in this conditional?

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Conditional: if + past or present?

    Quote Originally Posted by kuni View Post
    Dear all,

    I have two questions about the use of conditional.

    Oh, oh, oh - you're going to get a lot of answers here. I hope you can sort them all out.

    I suppose it is quite normal to say:

    "If I won the lottery, I would buy a car. " Yes.

    But when I want to express my strong belief that I am very certain that I will win the lottery, can I say:

    "If I win the lottery, I will buy a car"? No, but almost. Your first sentence is somewhat hypothetical. Even more hypothetical is: "If I were the lottery winner, I would buy a car."

    Your second example, "If I win...," recognizes that winning is possible, but not probable.

    To express strong belief, it would have to say:

    "When I win the lottery, I will buy a car."

    Even stronger:

    "Once I've won the lottery, I will be buying a car." This makes it sound absolutely inevitable.

    Similarly, I know it is ok to say:

    "If it is fine tomorrow, I will go camping." Yes.

    However, when I watch a TV weather forecast which says it will rain tomorrow, and I believe in it, can I say:

    "If it was fine tomorrow, I would go camping"? No. "Was fine tomorrow" does not work. It mixes past and future.

    If you're absolutely certain it will rain, the strongest thing to say is: "If it were going to be fine tomorrow, I would have gone camping."


    Can you think of any other situations like those above? Yes.

    Thank you in advance!!
    Those are hard concepts to master! I wish you luck. It's clear that you're making good progress. Keep asking questions.

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]

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    #7

    Re: Conditional: if + past or present?

    "If it had been fine tomorrow, I would have gone camping."

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Conditional: if + past or present?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "If it had been fine tomorrow, I would have gone camping."
    "If it had been going to be fine two days after yesterday, I wouldn't have gotten to have gone to go get going camping. And be sure to bring the ants."

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Conditional: if + past or present?

    (That was for extra credit.)

  7. engee30's Avatar
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    #10

    Cool Re: Conditional: if + past or present?

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Your second example, "If I win...," recognizes that winning is possible, but not probable.

    To express strong belief, it would have to say:

    "When I win the lottery, I will buy a car."

    Even stronger:

    "Once I've won the lottery, I will be buying a car." This makes it sound absolutely inevitable.
    Only If I win/won the lottery... is a conditional clause; the following are just time clauses:
    When I win/When I've won the lottery...
    Once I win/I've won the lottery...


    But since winning the lottery is not the same as, say doing one's homework, it's really hard to consider it a conditional aspect.

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