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    #1

    Is it conditional?

    Hi,


    recently I 've come across a new order in the sentences which seem to me to be conditional. Like


    If he had been rich, he would have......
    Had he been rich, he would have......


    Could someone please explain this to me further? the usage and examples?

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: Is it conditional?

    Yes, it is a rather literary type of 2nd/3rd conditional sentence, in which 'if' is omitted and subject and verb are inverted.

    Note, however, that the transformation is possible only where the main verb of the if-clause is 'were, had' or 'should'. Thus while e.g.

    If we were to go early, we could get a good seat.

    could be transformed to

    Were we to go early, ....
    ,

    If we went there early, we could get a seat.


    cannot be changed to

    *Went we there early,...

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is it conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by maral55 View Post
    Hi,


    recently I 've come across a new order in the sentences which seem to me to be conditional. Like


    If he had been rich, he would have......
    Had he been rich, he would have......


    Could someone please explain this to me further? the usage and examples?

    Thanks.
    philo has given you some present tense examples, but it means the same in the past as well.

    You will occasionally come across examples using verbs other than be, have and the modals - especially if you read Victorian novels.
    "Came he but a few minutes ago, he would have caught us together"

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    #4

    Re: Is it conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You will occasionally come across examples using verbs other than be, have and the modals - especially if you read Victorian novels.
    "Came he but a few minutes ago, he would have caught us together"
    I think we can safely consign such sentences to the ranks of the obsolete!

    (Incidentally, do you have a source for this quotation? It seems to me that it ought to read

    Had he come...)

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Is it conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    I think we can safely consign such sentences to the ranks of the obsolete!

    That's pretty much what I meant. Victorian novels have not been written for over a hundred years. But people, including learners, still read them.


    (Incidentally, do you have a source for this quotation? It seems to me that it ought to read
    Had he come...)
    It's not a quotation. It's simply a sentence exemplifying the grammar. I can, however, look for a similar sentence that actually comes from a Victorian novel if you like.

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    #6

    Re: Is it conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It's not a quotation. It's simply a sentence exemplifying the grammar. I can, however, look for a similar sentence that actually comes from a Victorian novel if you like.
    You're most welcome to try.

    (Just so long as there is no danger of our questioner's being misled into believing that such constructions are still possible in the contemporary language!)

  3. #7

    Re: Is it conditional?



    Examples:

    If I had apples, I would make an apple pie this afternoon.

    Had I apples, I would make an apple pie this afternoon.


    If Mary had known, she would have told me.

    Had Mary known, she would have told me.

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    #8

    Re: Is it conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by nell79 View Post


    Examples:

    If I had apples, I would make an apple pie this afternoon.

    [1] Had I apples, I would make an apple pie this afternoon.


    If Mary had known, she would have told me.

    [2] Had Mary known, she would have told me.
    Thank you for furnishing some additional examples.

    (However, it ought perhaps to be pointed out that [2], where 'had' occurs as an auxiliary, is considerably more natural than [1], where it occurs as a full verb.)

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