I would be surprised if he turns up/turned up

Kontol

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Javanese
Home Country
Indonesia
Current Location
Indonesia
Could you explain why does a native speaker usually mix type first and second conditionals? My grammar book just explain "rules" like first, second and third conditionals and do not cover all contexts. They are usually described as "simplified" rules.

I would be surprised if he turns up.
If two members of staff happen to fall in love and decide to marry it would be churlish to be appointing blame.
 
Last edited:

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
I think the fact that the books you refer to describe their rules as 'simplified' answers your question for you, doesn't it?

Conditional sentences are generally very complex structurally and semantically. Teachers and textbook writers have to try to simplify things.
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
If you follow the advice ('rules') given in most course books and student grammars, you will produce sentence that are correct. Just don't be surprised when you see/hear conditional sentence from native speakers who do not follow the rules.
 

Kontol

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Javanese
Home Country
Indonesia
Current Location
Indonesia
But it's very common and acceptable, right? I really want to understand this use, so could you explain the difference?

I would be surprised if he turns up.
I would be surprised if he turned up.
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
if he turns up

This is what I call a 'real' condition. That means that the speaker believes that there is a 'real' possibility of him turning up. It is very hard to explain what I mean by the word 'real'. In this case, it's likely that there is in reality a future event to which he may or may not turn up that is already planned to go ahead. The speaker is not merely imagining a hypothetical turning up to a hypothetical event, but considering a real possibility of turning up to a real future event.

if he turned up

The speaker here is considering his turning up as pure hypothesis. The effect of this is probably to suggest that the speaker believes he won't turn up. His turning up belongs only in the word of logical possibility, not 'real' possibility.

One of the major obstacles in understanding this is to distinguish between real futures and unreal ones, and 'real' possibilities and logical ones.. There is a sense in which all futures are unreal since they have yet to exist. Nevertheless, it does seem that English speakers at least do distinguish between futures that are considered possible and ones that are considered impossible. I know 5jj has disagreed with me on this distinction in the past but I'm not entirely convinced I made it clear last time what I meant.
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
If my memory serves me right, the only thing about conditionals that we have disagreed on are those such as:

I would be surprised if he turned up.

I think you have said that this suggests that the turning up is considered impossible. I know I have said that it is not considered impossible.
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Could you explain why does a native speakers usually mix type first and second conditionals? My grammar book just explains "rules" like first, second and third conditionals and does not cover all contexts.

Note my corrections above. Also, in future, please make your thread titles unique. Titles should include some/all of the words/phrases/sentences you are asking us to look at. The actual subject (in this case, "mixed conditionals") should appear only in the main body of the post, as part of a full sentence. A good title for this thread would have been "I would be surprised if he turns up".
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
If my memory serves me right, the only thing about conditionals that we have disagreed on are those such as:

I would be surprised if he turned up.

I think you have said that this suggests that the turning up is considered impossible. I know I have said that it is not considered impossible.
Yes, that's right. I believe this is precisely the only point of disagreement, and a very academic one at that. I suspect that a large part of this disagreement lies in what we mean by 'impossible'.
 

Kontol

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Javanese
Home Country
Indonesia
Current Location
Indonesia
How abou the following, jutfrank? Here the writer mixs conditionals. My teacher (non native) says this is not a conditional like if A then B. My teacher thinks that "if" in this case means where or when. Is that right?

The first thing we must do when we get to our holiday village is go to the supermarket.

In this example. I have never been to this holiday village before, so have no knowledge of which supermarkets are available, yet I have used the because I am thinking of a typical supermarket. But in this example, if you are thinking of one of many, a supermarket would also be possible.

Second, can this sentence be writen "if you were thinking..., you would...?
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Using "a supermarket" isn't wrong, but we tend to use "go to the supermarket" simply to mean "go shopping for food". It doesn't matter whether a specific supermarket is being referenced or not.
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
How abou the following, jutfrank? Here the writer mixs conditionals. My teacher (non native) says this is not a conditional like if A then B. My teacher thinks that "if" in this case means where or when. Is that right?

Yes, I think that's reasonable. It's certainly right that this is a not a logical deduction of the kind 'If A then B', if that's what you mean.

But in this example, if you are thinking of one of many, a supermarket would also be possible.

Second, can this sentence be writen "if you were thinking..., you would...?

I don't think you ought to analyse this example. My feeling is that the speaker here is not using careful language. The short answer is yes, you can express this thought in typical second conditional form, but I feel it can be better expressed as a zero conditional: If you are thinking of one of many, 'a supermarket' is also possible. This is probably what your teacher had in mind when he/she said that if is acting like when or in those cases where.
 

Kontol

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Javanese
Home Country
Indonesia
Current Location
Indonesia
For instance, Mancehester United are in action today. Then can I say "If Manchester United win today, they would climb to third"?
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
For instance, Mancehester United are in action today. Then can I say "If Manchester United win today, they would climb to third"?
No. This is a very real possibility, so state it like this:

If Manchester United win today, they climb to third.

You could also use will in the second clause but there's no good reason. You're just trying to state a simple fact.
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
You could also use will in the second clause but there's no good reason. You're just trying to state a simple fact.
I think that the form with will is as natural as the present simple.
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
I think that the form with will is as natural as the present simple.
I don't disagree that both are equally natural but I don't see how this is a question of what's natural. My point is that if the speaker means just to present this as simple statement of mathematical fact (which is what I (perhaps falsely) assume Kontol wants to do), the present simple is the form to use. There's no need for will if that's the case.
 
Last edited:

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
t if the speaker means just to present this a simple statement of mathematical fact (which is what I (perhaps falsely) assume Kontol wants to do), the present simple is the form to use.
I prefer not to make such assumptions. I'll wait to see what Kontol has to say.
 

Kontol

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Javanese
Home Country
Indonesia
Current Location
Indonesia
I don't disagree that both are equally natural but I don't see how this is a question of what's natural. My point is that if the speaker means just to present this as simple statement of mathematical fact (which is what I (perhaps falsely) assume Kontol wants to do), the present simple is the form to use. There's no need for will if that's the case.
So, there is no difference between "If Manchester United win today, they climb to third" and "If Manchester United win today, they will climb to third" when used to make a prediction, isn't there?
 

Kontol

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Javanese
Home Country
Indonesia
Current Location
Indonesia
I prefer not to make such assumptions. I'll wait to see what Kontol has to say.
I want to make a prediction for a game taking place today. So, I'm a bit confused about the dillema between first or second conditionals when wanting to write a sentence before the game since either first or second conditiomals can refer to the future. So what should I say?

If Man Utd win today, they will climb to third.
If Man Utd won today, they would climb to third.
 
Last edited:

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
If Man Utd win today, they will climb to third.
If Man Utd won today, they would climb to third.
As jutfrank has already explained, the speaker sees the possibility of the win in the first as real. This possibility is seen as more hypothetical in the second.
 
Top