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  #1  
Old October 09, 2009, 01:33 PM
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Conditional sentences

I've studied conditional sentences type I, II and III, but the following ones are a bit different. Could you help me?

- Had I known that he was listening I wouldn't have said that.

Why here "if" is not used? Is it normal in this sentences write the auxiliary before the subject (Had I) -this is not a question-

- If anyone should happen to see us, we'd be in big trouble

I can't understand why "should" is used here. Why not "if anyone saw us"?


Thanks
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  #2  
Old October 09, 2009, 01:47 PM
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These are just two different ways of saying the same thing:

Had I known...
If I had known...

Again, these are very similar, but there are slight nuances of meaning here:

If anyone should happen to see us... (Si por pura casualidad alguien nos viese)
If anyone were to see us... (Si alguien nos viera)
If anyone saw us... (Si alguien nos viera)
If anyone happens to see us... (Si alguien nos ve)

Sorry I don't have any more explanations.

By the way, what are type I, II, and III conditional sentences?
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  #3  
Old October 09, 2009, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomisimo View Post
These are just two different ways of saying the same thing:

Had I known...
If I had known...

Again, these are very similar, but there are slight nuances of meaning here:

If anyone should happen to see us... (Si por pura casualidad alguien nos viese)
If anyone were to see us... (Si alguien nos viera) (si alguien fuera a vernos)
If anyone saw us... (Si alguien nos viera)
If anyone happens to see us... (Si alguien nos ve) (si pasa que alguien nos ve)

Sorry I don't have any more explanations.

By the way, what are type I, II, and III conditional sentences?
You always give good explanations, however, I think I made my corrections the way think they are correct.
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Old October 10, 2009, 02:18 AM
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Thanks

I've studied such sentences like this, maybe you know them in another way

- Type I (possible and likely):

If I study, I'll pass my exams.

- Type II (possible but unlikely):

If I studied, I would pass my exams.

- Type III (impossible: past):

If I had studied, I would have passed my exams.

But this year, such sentences are more complicated . For instance, now I have this one:

Were the King to come now, we'd see some changes.

I guess it's the same than the other one (had I known...). So that would be: if the King came now, we'd see some changes (or I think so ).

But I have this one, too:

If he were to say the word, we'd go.

Could I say "were he to say the word", as in the previous sentence? Any of these structures is more common?

Thank you again (maybe I'll have a few more )
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  #5  
Old October 10, 2009, 04:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
Were the King to come now, we'd see some changes.

I guess it's the same than the other one (had I known...). So that would be: if the King came now, we'd see some changes (or I think so ).


Quote:
But I have this one, too:

If he were to say the word, we'd go.

Could I say "were he to say the word", as in the previous sentence? Any of these structures is more common?
You could do. "Subjunctive-verb noun/pronoun" is more formal/literary than "If noun/pronoun subjunctive-verb", en general. Pero, bueno, es complicado (¡como cualquier aspecto de los idiomas naturales!).

"Had I known" no me parece muy formal.
"Were the King to come" me parece bastante formal. Muchos hablantes nativos no se darían cuenta de que necesita el subjunctivo, y dirían "If the King was to come".
"Were he to say the word" me parece muy formal. No sé por qué. Quizá doy por supuesto que frases que tiene que ver con el Rey usen lenguaje más formal de lo normal.
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  #6  
Old October 10, 2009, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjt33 View Post
If the King was to come.
This is common, but really bad English.
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  #7  
Old October 11, 2009, 11:11 PM
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Hi, Irmamar,

Re: Inversion

Yeah, the inverted forms do sound more formal to me. In my experience the inverted forms are also used to express emphasis and so are used more when the situation exerts pressure on the speaker.

I'll try to bring out the difference with a couple of examples.

Ex. 1

Let's say we are casually conversing about how I arrived at school one sunny day. As you live close to the school you walked there that day. My choices were either to take the bus or to ride my bike to school. Since it was sunny I had decided to ride my bike. Let's also say the bus got a flat tire on the way to school that morning.

Here's a possible conversation before classes begin:

I: Hey, Cloudgazer! How's it going?
C: Pretty good, Irmamar; nice to see you! Great day for a morning bike ride.
I: I bet. Hey! Did you hear the bus got a flat on the way to school?
C: Really? I'm glad I rode my bike then.
I: Yeah! If you'd taken the bus you'd still be stuck on it along with those crazy kids that live down the street from you.
C: And if I'd taken the bus I wouldn't have been able to grab a cup of that great coffee the donut shop makes!
I: You lucky bum!

This is just a light, informal exchange. Saying had you taken or had I taken would sound stiff to me in this context.


Ex. 2

Now let's say my parents thought I was going to ride the bus that day. They expected this since during the previous evening they had asked me to ride along with my younger brother. Instead, I left early and rode my bike that day, having forgotten about their request.

Here's a possible exchange between me and my mom after I arrive home:

M: Cloud, why didn't you take the bus with your brother? Don't you realize it was his first day at your school?
C: Oh no! I'm sorry, Mom. I forgot.
M: Forgot? Your brother was really nervous about his first day at his new school and you made him go alone!
C: Really, Mom; I'm sorry I forgot.
M: Did you know your brother spent 2 extra hours sitting on the bus by himself with those rowdy kids from down the street? Had you taken the bus he would've had someone to watch out for him.
C: Had I taken the bus I would’ve missed the chair test in my band class!

This is a pressure situation and my mom’s use of inversion adds more of an accusatory tone to the statement she makes. In turn, I use inversion in my answer as a natural mirroring of her choice of expressive pattern as it helps me more strongly defend against her accusatory tone. It’s recasting the accusation through imitation so I can rewrite the story to benefit myself.

This is just my take on some aspects of inversion. Hope it helps!

----------------------------------------------------

Re: whether and formality

Could you provide some examples that your text is discussing? Thanks and have a great week!

-c
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  #8  
Old October 12, 2009, 12:29 AM
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What a good explanation, cloudgazer!


There's only one sentence in my book with' whether' and 'to be':

We have a duty to report this whether he be a parishioner or not.

Is 'to be' used here to express subjunctive? What do you think about its formality? Maybe it's used in certain languages, such as the literary one, isn't it?

Is 'whether' used instead of 'if' to express more formality. I always use 'if', but I don't know if 'whether' is more formal or not.

I have also some doubts about your explanation:

Does 'to get a flat' mean 'pinchar una rueda'?
What is a 'donut shop'?

Thanks again for your information, it helps a lot
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  #9  
Old October 12, 2009, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
We have a duty to report this whether he be a parishioner or not.

Is 'to be' used here to express subjunctive? What do you think about its formality? Maybe it's used in certain languages, such as the literary one, isn't it?
That's a subjunctive and a very formal sentence.

Quote:
Is 'whether' used instead of 'if' to express more formality. I always use 'if', but I don't know if 'whether' is more formal or not.
They're not always interchangeable.

Ask him whether he likes peas. (formal or informal)
Ask him if he likes peas. (slightly informal)
Whether he likes peas is irrelevant.
*If he likes peas is irrelevant.
*Whether he comes I'll make pea soup.
If he comes I'll make pea soup.
Whether or not he comes I'll make pea soup.
Whether he comes or not I'll make pea soup.
*If or not he comes I'll make pea soup.
*If he comes or not I'll make pea soup. (sounds strange but I'm not sure it's wrong)

"Whether or not" isn't formal. Using it with a subjunctive is (when grammatical). I'm not sure "whether or not" + subjunctive is ever grammatical except with "to be". If I put the subjunctive into my example:
*Whether or not he come I'll make pea soup.


Quote:
Does 'to get a flat' mean 'pinchar una rueda'?
What is a 'donut shop'?
Yes.
Rosquillería.
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  #10  
Old October 12, 2009, 12:04 PM
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Nice clarification, pjt33!

I'd just add that whether is used to introduce a series of expected alternatives (even if some of the alternatives are implied). When if is used, none of the situations under consideration have to occur.

Leveraging pjt33's example:

Ask him whether he likes peas
has an implicit "or not" in it:
Ask him whether he likes peas (or not).
Ask him whether (or not) he likes peas.

I hope I can make this more clear via examples that give choice between two positives:

Ask him whether he likes peas or corn.
The speaker is typically expecting a choice from the given alternatives, peas or corn (or maybe both).

Ask him if he likes peas or corn.
Here the speaker is allowing for the choice of peas, or of corn, or perhaps neither.
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