should = if (as a conditional)

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Zander, Oct 5, 2009.

  1. Zander New Member

    Mexico City
    Mexican Spanish
    Hello Everybody,

    If I am not mistaken, "should" can be used as a conditional instead of "if", right?

    Could somebody tell me whether this sentence is right and if it is frequent to use sentences like this:

    Should he study hard, no doubt he would pass this course.
    (If he studied hard,)

    Thanks.
     
  2. Melania_3838 Senior Member

    USA
    Enlish-US
    I would actually say, ''If he studied hard, there would be no doubt that he would pass this course''.

    I don't believe I have ever heard should used in the manner that you are talking about.

    It can be used when giving advice though. Ex: He should study hard if he wants to pass this course.
     
  3. mochilero

    mochilero Senior Member

    London
    UK English
    Another difference between AE and BE. Here in the UK, it's fine to say "Should he study hard..." in this kind of context. It's simple an inversion of "If he should study hard...". But it's not the conditional, it's one of the few remaining examples of the subjunctive in English.
     
  4. Scalpel72 Senior Member

    Español (Colombia)
    That 'conditional sentence' is formal and used more in the UK.
    Should, were, and had inverted is correct. Also should can be used in the if clause to talk about something which is possible but not very likekly.

    If anyone should ring, could you take a message.
    If the decision were to go against us , we would appeal.
    should we not succeed, the consequences would be disastrous.
    Were the picture genuine, it would worth millions
    Had you taken a taxi, you would have got here on time.
    Had I not taken a taxi, I would have got here late.

    I would like a native will confirm these statements.

    Regards

    Scalpel72
     
  5. Bigote Blanco Senior Member

    If anyone should ring, could you take a message.
    If the decision were to go against us , we would appeal.
    should we not succeed, the consequences would be disastrous.
    Were the picture genuine, it would worth millions
    Had you taken a taxi, you would have got here on time.
    Had I not taken a taxi, I would have got here late.

    I would like a native will confirm these statements.

    Regards

    Scalpel72


    This is all very commonly used english and very clearly understood. In fact, your sentences are quite well written.
    Had you used something other than, "would have got"(like, "would have arrived"), I would have been even more pleased with your work.

    :)BB
     
  6. G a Senior Member

    Coahuila, Mexico
    American English, Español mexicano
    ¿En qué partes de EEUU? Mi padre es de Michigan, mi madre de Washington, y yo les he oído usar construcciones similares. Definitivamente lo he visto escrito muchas veces.

    If you mean in the public schools and the shopping malls, I would have to agree with you. Not so much a matter of usage as a matter of ignorance.
     
  7. slazenger14

    slazenger14 Senior Member

    Tenés razón. La culpa mía.
    Yo quería decir que las siguientes frases no son comunes en nuestro lenguaje:
    "Should we not succeed, the consequences would be disastrous.
    Were the picture genuine, it would worth millions"
    En cuanto al lenguaje hablado, esas frases están arriba, no diríamos.
    If we don't succeed,
    If the picture were genuine,
     
  8. Melania_3838 Senior Member

    USA
    Enlish-US
    I agree with the other answerer. People do not usually speak like that in the US.

    You would be more likely to hear the following in the US:
    If anyone should call, could you take a message? If anyone calls, could you you take a message?
    2nd one is common
    If we do not succeed, the consequences will be disastrous/dire.
    If the picture had been genuine, it would have been worth millions.
    If you had taken a taxi, you would have been here on time.
    If I had not taken a taxi, I would have been late.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2009
  9. slazenger14

    slazenger14 Senior Member

    Sí, de acuerdo con Scalpel72.

    Aunque se puede decir esas oraciones, no sonarían naturales en EEUU, ni solemos decirlas.

    Las sugerencias de Scalpel72 y las que escribí, son tan comunes en EEUU que las que Zander escribió.
     
  10. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Subjunctive should, were, and had can move ahead of the subject and replace if:

    Should he pass the course
    = Were he to pass the course = If he were to pass the course.
    Had he passed the course = If he had passed the course.

    Note that should meaning "ought to" and indicative were and had cannot do this.

    The sentence "
    Should he study hard, no doubt he would pass this course" seems a little odd to me. The sentence would work with "if he studied hard", but "should he study" means something like "if he were to study", not "if he studied".

    For some reason "Were he to study hard, no doubt he would pass this course" does not seem so odd to me, and neither does "
    Should he study hard, no doubt he will pass this course", but I don't have a ready answer as to why.

     
  11. Zander New Member

    Mexico City
    Mexican Spanish
    Hello All,

    Thank you very much for your help. You are very resourceful and willing to share what you know (and I see you do know a lot).

    I actually cleared up my doubt and learned more. I also understood that not everybody would use these sentences.

    All the best.
     
  12. Bigote Blanco Senior Member

    I have spent many years in law offices and universities. This pattern of speach is quite common in law offices as well as, major universities, public schools and shopping malls.

    "Should the jury come in with a guilty verdict, we can appeal. Let's wait and see."

    "Should we be awarded the grant from the Gates foundation, we can continue the health program for five more years."

    "Should the university get a conservative new president, we may have to re-think building a new sports stadium.

    "Should the shipment of new tennis shoes arrive by Friday, we can put them on sale Monday."
     
  13. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    This is the language of eventualities, equivalent to present subjunctive:

    Should he study hard, no doubt he will pass this course.
    = En caso de que él estudie duro, sin duda aprobará este curso.

    But "if he studied" is past subjunctive:

    If he studied hard, no doubt he would pass this course.
    = Si él estudiese duro, sin duda aprobaría este curso.

     
  14. Zander New Member

    Mexico City
    Mexican Spanish
    Thank you very much Bigote Blanco and Forero, now I know how to use this structure properly.

    All the best.
     

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