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Conditional Sentences (#6), by Dennis Oliver

 
 

 

Conditional ("if") sentences normally have two parts.
One part shows a
result and the other shows a condition
on which the result depends. The
condition is normally
preceded by
if. In "He would have been at the meeting
if he weren't so forgetful," the result is "he would have
been at the meeting" and the condition (introduced by
"if") is "he weren't so forgetful."

There are two main types of conditional sentences: real
and
unreal. Real conditional sentences refer to situations
that are either true or possible. Unreal conditionals refer
to situations that are untrue, impossible or hypothetical;
conditional sentences of this type are often described as
being
contrary to fact.

Let's look at more information on unreal conditionals.

 

Unreal Conditionals (#4)

 

 

There are several types of unreal conditional sentences.
They differ according to the
time that they refer to, but
they are the same in one way: the situations that they
show are
unreal, hypothetical, and contrary to fact.

Unreal conditionals may be used for situations in present /
future time, past time, or
mixed times. There are several
types of mixed-time unreal conditionals. One has the
condition in the past and the result in the present or future.
Another has the condition in
general time and the result
in
past time:

If he weren't so lazy, he would've finished
his work several days ago. / He would've
finished his work several days ago if he
weren't so lazy.

(He didn't finish his work several days ago
because he's very lazy.)

 

If I needed help, I would've hired a tutor. /
I would've hired a tutor if I needed help.

(I didn't want to hire a tutor because I don't
need help.)

 

If she drove more quickly, she would've
arrived several hours ago. / She would've
arrived several hours ago if she drove
more quickly.

(She didn't arrive several hours ago
because she doesn't drive quickly.)

 

If Bob's family were rich, he wouldn't
have needed to get a part-time job. /
Bob wouldn't have needed to get
a part-time job if his family were rich.

(Bob's family isn't rich, so he needed to
get a part-time job.)

 

Special Note:

In all the sentences above, the condition is in general time;
it shows a situation that is a fact, a habit, or a continuing
situation. The results, in the sentences above, are in the
past--but they could also be in the present or future:

If he weren't so lazy, he would've
finished his work several days ago. /
He would've finished his work several
days ago if he weren't so lazy.

If he weren't so lazy, he would finish
his work on time. / He would finish
his work on time if he weren't so lazy.

If he weren't so lazy, he would finish
his work this week instead of sometime
next month.

 

If she drove more quickly, she would've
arrived several hours ago. / She would've
arrived several hours ago if she drove
more quickly.

If she drove more quickly, she would
arrive on time. / She would arrive
on time if she drove more quickly.

If she drove more quickly, she would
arrive later this morning instead of
this afternoon. / She would arrive later
lthis morning instead of this afternoon
if she drove more quickly.

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