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Week 7 Subjunctive and unreal past; conditionals

Vocabulary and grammar

Conditionals and If clauses


What is always true: present + present (both present simple and continuous are possible after if meaning when)
If I work late, I get tired.
If the water is boiling, it means the food is nearly ready.
What was always true: past + past (both past simple and continuous are possible after if meaning when)
We went home early if it was foggy.
If it was snowing, we stayed at home.
Real situations: present + will (the outcome is really possible)
If you keep driving like that, youll have an accident.
Hypothetical situations: past + would (imaginary situations)
If I knew the answer, Id tell you.
If I were you, Id accept the proposal.
Hypothetical past situations: past perfect + would have (to refer to past events)
If I had known you were coming, I would have met you at the station.
Past events with results in the present: past perfect + would
If Jim hadnt missed the plane, he would be here by noon.
Other forms
With modals
Possible situations in the present
If you get wet, you should change your clothes immediately.
If you come early, we can discuss the problem together.
Hypothetical situations
If you had the money, I could help you.
Hypothetical past situations
If you hadnt reminded me, I might have forgotten.
If only
Adds emphasis to hypothetical situations. With past events it adds a sense of regret. The second part of the
sentence is often left out.
If only I had enough time!
If only I hadnt drunk too much, this wouldnt have happened!
Unless and other alternatives to if
Unless = only if not. Not all negative sentences can be transformed into unless sentences.
If he wasnt told by Jane, he couldnt have known. => Unless he was told by Jane, he couldnt have known. (can
be changed)
If Mr. Smith doesnt come back, hell phone you. (cannot be changed)
If one situation depends on another, if can be replaced by as/so long as, provided or only if.
Ill do what you say provided the police are not informed.
Even if describes how something will happen whatever the condition.
Even if it rains, well still go for a picnic.
Other tenses in conditional sentences
To Be Going to => can replace will
If you fall, youre going to hurt yourself.
Present perfect => can be used to emphasise completion after if
If youve finished, then well go.

Week 7 Subjunctive and unreal past; conditionals

Vocabulary and grammar

If Ive told you once, Ive told you a hundred times!


Doubt and uncertainty => an additional not can be added in formal expressions involving doubt. This emphasises the
uncertainty and does not add a negative meaning.
I wouldnt be surprised if it didnt rain. (I think it will rain)
Should => after if it makes the possibility of an event seem unlikely
If you should see Ann, could you ask her to call me?
Were to => makes the event be more hypothetical
If I were to ask you to marry me, what would you say?
Happen to => emphasises chance possibilities; often used with should
If you happen to see Helen, could you ask her to call me?
If you should happen to be passing by, drop in for a cup of tea.
If it were not for / If it hadnt been for => describes how one event depends on another
If it werent for Jim, this company would be in a mess.
If it hadnt been for their goalkeeper, United would have lost.
Will and would => politeness and emphasis
If you will/would wait here, Ill see if Mrs. Green is free.
Other ways of making a conditional sentence
Supposing or suppose can replace if mainly in everyday speech
Supposing you won the football pools, what would you do?
Otherwise = or if not => either at the beginning or end of the sentence
If you hadnt given us directions, we wouldnt have found the house. => Thanks for your directions to the house.
We wouldnt have found it otherwise.
But for => can replace if not; used in formal language and must be followed by a noun form
If you hadnt helped us, we would have been in trouble. => But for your help, we would have been in trouble.
If so / If not => can refer to a sentence understood but not stated
There is a possibility that Jack will be late. If so, I will take his place.
Colloquial omission of if => in everyday speech an imperative can be used instead of an if clause
Sit down, and Ill make us a cup of tea. (If you sit down ...)
If and adjectives => in expressions such as if it is necessary / possible it is possible to omit the verb be
If interested, apply within. If necessary, take a taxi.
Formally if can mean although, usually as if + adjective
The room was well-furnished, if a little badly decorated.

Week 7 Subjunctive and unreal past; conditionals

Vocabulary and grammar

Unreal tenses and subjunctives


Its (high) time + past simple or continuous, though the time referred to is unreal
Its time we left.
Its high time I was/were going. (were all persons; was more common in everyday speech)
Wishes
Present for wishes where you want to change a present state
I wish I had a motorbike. (I dont have one.)
I wish you werent leaving. (You are leaving.)
Would and could if the verb is an event verb, the reference is to future
use after wish; would = decided to
I wish you would leave.
I wish I could come on holiday with you next year.
would often used to describe an annoying habit
I wish you wouldnt make such a mess.
Past for wishes referring to a past event that cannot be changed
I wish I hadnt eaten so much.
Hope for wishes about simple future events
I hope it doesnt rain tomorrow.
I hope hell stop talking soon.
Is rather / I prefer (followed by a clause)
Id rather + past tenses (as with wishes); for personal preference about actions
Id rather you didnt smoke in here.
used with normal tenses when comparing nouns or phrases.
Id rather be a sailor than a solder. (present)
Id rather have lived in Ancient Greece than Ancient Rome. (past)
Id prefer as part of a conditional 2 sentence
Id prefer it if you didnt go.
As if, As though
Real and unreal the tense depends on whether the comparison is true or unreal
He acts as if he were in charge. (He isnt in charge.)
He acts as if he is in charge. (He is in charge.)
Present and past reference are both possible.
I feel as if I were flying.
I feel as if an express train had hit me.
Suppose, Imagine
Understood conditions the conditional part is understood but not stated
Imagine we won the pools! (Imagine what we would do if ...)
if the event is a real possibility, rather than imaginary, a present tense is possible
Suppose it starts raining, whatll we do?
Present or past both present and past references are possible
Imagine wed never met!
Suppose we went to Wales for a change.
Formal subjunctives
Insisting, demanding etc. after verbs such as demand, insist, suggest, require we use the subjunctive in
formal style
They demanded that he leave at once.

Week 7 Subjunctive and unreal past; conditionals

Vocabulary and grammar

- only one form short infinitive; no s for the 3rd person sg.; no past form
- the same goes for expressions such as: it is necessary/essential/important that
Less formal usage should can be used
colloquially, no tense change is made and or an infinitive construction is used
Formulaic subjunctive
Fixed expression that all use subjunctive
God save the Queen!
Be that as it may ...
Come what may ...