# Conditionals

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Brazilian Girl, Feb 19, 2013.

1. ### Brazilian GirlSenior Member

São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Portuguese Brazil
I´d be grateful if the colleagues could kindly help me. The exercise is to choose the item that is not gramatically possible, as follow:

Do that....
a) and you´ll regret it.
b) if it´ll help´.
c) if you´ll get the opportunity
d) - we´ll lose business

The answer key proposes the wrong one as letter "c". Is that ok?

What makes "b" different from "c" once both are in future?

2. ### Keith BradfordSenior Member

Brittany, NW France
English (Midlands UK)
Well, I agree that "C" is the wrong one, but I can't explain away your logic!

3. ### LoobSenior Member

English UK
Hi Brazilian Girl

We don't use the future tense in an if-clause if the if-clause describes a prior condition: that's why (c) is wrong - it should be Do that if you get the opportunity.

We can use the future tense in an if-clause if the if-clause describes the result of the action in the main clause - so we can say, for example, I'll give you £500 if it will make you feel better. In the if-clause in (b) that's exactly what's happening: the idea is "Do that if the result will be that it helps."

4. ### Keith BradfordSenior Member

Brittany, NW France
English (Midlands UK)
Bravo!............

5. ### wolfbm1Senior Member

Poland
Polish
But we could say: I'll give you £500 if I feel better.

Now if I feel better describes a condition and I'll give you £500 describes a result.

So, I'll give you £500 if it will make you feel better. is not a type one conditional sentence because there is no condition.
Similarly Do it if it'll help also is not a conditional sentence.

Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
6. ### Brazilian GirlSenior Member

São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Portuguese Brazil
Thanks, everybody!

7. ### wolfbm1Senior Member

Poland
Polish
I hope a native speaker will confirm confirms my conclusion.

8. ### LoobSenior Member

English UK

Yes, that's another way of looking at it, wolf

9. ### Thomas TompionSenior Member

Southwest France
English - England
I'm not clear that a contingency which it can only be met after the time of the main clause is thereby disqualified from being a condition

Loob calls cases like b.'results' - its being a help is the consequence of 'doing that'. I'm not clear, however, that this makes 'its being a potential help' any less of a condition. I think we can't say that the 'consequence' is anything more than a supposed consequence. What we are really saying is If you are confident that doing that will help, then do it. Put like that it clearly is a condition, isn't it?

10. ### wolfbm1Senior Member

Poland
Polish
I think you have a point, Thomas.
I'd better do some more reading then. In fact, I found an interesting article in Wikipedia: English conditional sentences, subsection: Use of will and would in condition clauses. L.G Alexander, in Longman English Grammar on page 283, explains that 'will' after 'if' is not normally used. However, 'will' can be used "when we wish to emphasize the idea of 'not now, but later'." He gives an example:

"If it suits you, I'll change the date of our meeting. (Type 1)

If it will suit you
(i.e. not now, but later), I'll change the date of our meeting."

I think that Alexander's explanation could also work in the OP's sentence:

Do that if it'll help (i.e. not now, but later).

And if we didn't want to emphasize "later", then we could say:

Do that if it helps. (... to see it from another angle.)

Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
11. ### Harld CastilloNew Member

Brazilian Portuguese
Certainly C is wrong. It's unnecessary the use of 'll and unusual besides. It would be: Do that if you get the opportunity. Use the Present Tense in cases such as this.

12. ### Brazilian GirlSenior Member

São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Portuguese Brazil
Thanks everybody for being so kind.

13. ### Giorgio SpizziSenior Member

Italian
Do that.... if you will get the opportunity (opportunity comes before the doing; condition)
Do that ... if it will help (help is imagined as coming after the doing; no condition)

GS

14. ### wolfbm1Senior Member

Poland
Polish
Hello Giorgio.
The conjunction 'if', in the above sentence, means 'provided that'. Therefore it does introduce a condition. We could turn the clauses around:
If it will help, (then) do that. = Provided that it will help, (then) do that.

Thomas Thompion said in post #9:
"What we are really saying is If you are confident that doing that will help, then do it. Put like that it clearly is a condition, isn't it?"

I'm not sure if we can make the kind of equation Owlman5 did in one of his posts:

"If it helps build your case that he's still up to no good... = If this will help you decide that he is still up to no good ..."

I think that the use of 'will' after 'if' puts the clause in 'a more confident perspective.'

Last edited: Mar 3, 2013