The government is preparing for an invasion into that neighboring country SHOULD/IF diplomacy fail

northpath

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What are these minute differences between these two sentences?
The government is preparing for an invasion into that neighboring country SHOULD diplomacy fail to meet their objectives.
The government is preparing for an invasion into that neighboring country IF diplomacy fails to meet their objectives.
 

Tarheel

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What are the minute differences between these two sentences?
The government is preparing for an invasion into that neighboring country SHOULD diplomacy fail to meet their objectives.
The government is preparing for an invasion into that neighboring country IF diplomacy fails to meet their objectives.
Not important enough to worry about.
 

jutfrank

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I'll assume that the original sentence is the first one in the OP because it's a good example of this use of should.

Think of should as meaning something like 'in case'. The government is making preparations with respect to a certain outcome. It isn't about conditionality—nothing is really conditional upon anything else.
 
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5jj

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I don't agree. I think should used in this way always has some sense of if-possibility.
 

5jj

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No.

I said what I feel in my last post.
 

Tarheel

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If "should" can be replaced with "if" doesn't that make it a conditional? (Asking for a friend.)
 

jutfrank

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If "should" can be replaced with "if" doesn't that make it a conditional? (Asking for a friend.)

It can't (or shouldn't) be replaced with if in this case. In fact, if is both wrong logically and, I'd argue, ungrammatical.

I think people may be confusing the meaning and logic of the sentence. There is an implied conditionality in this sense: If diplomacy fails, then the government will invade. However, that isn't what the sentence is saying. The sentence is saying that the government is preparing for a certain eventuality or outcome. The word should here has a sense of 'in case'-ness, not 'if'-ness. They aren't quite the same. Look at the logic of the following two sentences:

I'll take an umbrella in case it rains.
If it rains, I'll use the umbrella.


Now compare the meaning of the following:

I'll take an umbrella if it rains.
 

5jj

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And compare the meaning of I'll take an umbrella should it rain.
There is an implied conditionality in this sense: If diplomacy fails, then the government will invade. However, that isn't what the sentence is saying. The sentence is saying that the government is preparing for a certain eventuality or outcome. The word should here has a sense of 'in case'-ness, not 'if'-ness.
I believe it is saying that the government is preparing for a possible eventuality.
 

5jj

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My points were:
1. I'll take an umbrella should it rain. The meaning of should is much closer to if than in case.
2.
When I spoke of a possible eventuality I was contrasting it with your certain eventuality. I was probably unclear. I meant to imply conditionality.

I have found a number of grammarians (see below) who associate should + S-V inversion with conditionality. So far I have found none who equate it with in case.

Aarts (2011.291, )Carter & McCarthy (2006.756), Greenbaum (1996.341), Huddleston & Pullum (2002.188), Leech (2004.120), Quirk et al (1985.1094), Zandvoort (1972.219).
 

northpath

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Here is the original text of an American correspondent:
NEW: A US official tells me, "The United States is concerned that the Russian Government is preparing for an invasion into Ukraine that may result in widespread human rights violations and war crimes should diplomacy fail to meet their objectives."
 

jutfrank

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My points were:
1. I'll take an umbrella should it rain. The meaning of should is much closer to if than in case.

Really? I'm very surprised you'd think that.

2. When I spoke of a possible eventuality I was contrasting it with your certain eventuality. I was probably unclear. I meant to imply conditionality.

I was using certain in the sense of 'particular'. The government is preparing for a particular eventuality or outcome.

I have found a number of grammarians (see below) who associate should + S-V inversion with conditionality. So far I have found none who equate it with in case.

Aarts (2011.291, )Carter & McCarthy (2006.756), Greenbaum (1996.341), Huddleston & Pullum (2002.188), Leech (2004.120), Quirk et al (1985.1094), Zandvoort (1972.219).

First, I can't see how this is about grammar. This is about meaning, and I think we ought to stick with our original example, the meaning of which is quite clear, don't you think?

I'm not sure what your understanding of this matter is. Do you mean to suggest that if is correct in this context and that it has the same meaning as should? Or do you mean that the sentence doesn't have the sense that the government is making preparations in case diplomacy fails? Is your list of books a way of claiming that should never has a sense of in case-ness? Please clarify.

Here is the original text of an American correspondent:
NEW: A US official tells me, "The United States is concerned that the Russian Government is preparing for an invasion into Ukraine that may result in widespread human rights violations and war crimes should diplomacy fail to meet their objectives."

Sorry, I'm lost now. This is a completely difference sentence with a very different meaning. Where did you see the original sentence? Which sentence do you want to understand?
 

5jj

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Do you mean to suggest that if is correct in this context and that it has the same meaning as should?
Yes.
((My personal view is that should expresses a lesser degree of possibility, but that is not important.)
Or do you mean that the sentence doesn't have the sense that the government is making preparations in case diplomacy fails?
Yes
Is your list of books a way of claiming that should never has a sense of in case-ness? Please clarify.
I said "So far I have found none [no grammarians] who equate it with in case."
 

5jj

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1. The government is preparing for an invasion into that neighboring country SHOULD diplomacy fail to meet their objectives.
2. The government is preparing for an invasion into that neighboring country IF diplomacy fails to meet their objectives.
3. The government is preparing for an invasion into that neighboring country IN CASE diplomacy fails to meet their objectives
.

There is explicit conditionality in #1 and #2: there will be an invasion if diplomacy fails.

In #3,
[t]he government is making preparations with respect to a certain outcome. It isn't about conditionality—nothing is really conditional upon anything else.

In practical terms there is little significant difference in meaning in this sentence. However, should does not mean in case. As you have pointed out in other threads, when we use different words, there is almost always some difference in meaning.
 

jutfrank

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There is explicit conditionality in #1 and #2: there will be an invasion if diplomacy fails.

I'd call it implicit. Certainly not explicit.

In practical terms there is little significant difference in meaning in this sentence. However, should does not mean in case.

Yes, it kind of does. I'd prefer to call it an 'in case'-ness, as it's not too wise to substitute one word for another. You might also call it a contingency. The meaning of the sentence is that preparations are being made provisionally, for the possibility of the event that diplomacy fails.

As you have pointed out in other threads, when we use different words, there is almost always some difference in meaning.

Absolutely.
 

5jj

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jutfrank

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The if/should are a bit of a giveaway for me.

We're talking about should, not if.

It seems to me you've misunderstood the original sentence.

a) The government will invade if diplomacy fails.
b) The government will invade in case diplomacy fails.

Sentence a) above is a conditional and makes sense. The condition of invasion is that diplomacy fails. The giveaway is the word if. Sentence b) is wrong because it doesn't make sense. This is because if and in case have different meanings.

c) The government are preparing for an invasion if diplomacy fails.
d) The government are preparing for an invasion in case diplomacy fails.

Sentence c) is wrong because it doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense because it uses if and because diplomacy fails is not a condition for preparation (I'm happy to call it an 'implicit' condition). Sentence d) is right and makes sense. The original sentence (with should) has the same meaning as sentence d).

So, the disagreement between 5jj and myself is that I think the original sentence is more equivalent to sentence d) and 5jj thinks it's more equivalent to sentence a). These sentences have different meanings.
 

5jj

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It seems to me you've misunderstood the original sentence.
One of us has. :LOL:

I took the original sentence, The government is preparing for an invasion into that neighboring country should diplomacy fail (if diplomacy fails) to meet their objectives to mean:

The government of country A is preparing for an invasion by country B into that neighboring country, country C, should diplomacy fail (if diplomacy fails) to meet their objective.

We have been discussing two different ideas! Hey ho.

(I don't agree with your analysis of your sentence (c) in post #19, but I think that's beyond the scope of this thread.)

If anybody is still interested in the should/if/in case issue, It might be a good idea to start a fresh thread. This one has got a little confused.
 
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