если,... то...

123xyz

Senior Member
Macedonian
Hello everybody,

Could someone tell me when "если... то" is used as opposed to just "если" when the "если" clause, i.e. the subordinate clause comes first? So far, many of the example sentences I have written in my threads involving an initial "если" without "то" have been mended, i.e. the "то" has been added, e.g. here. However, I don't believe that the "то" is always obligatory, although I encounter it very frequently, since on this thread, the sentence being discussed doesn't include it and it hasn't been labelled as erroneous.

So, why is "eсли не поймёшь, мы тебе поможем" fine, whereas my "если добавишь в соус, слишком много разбавишь его" was fixed to "если его добавлять в соус, то соус слишком разбавится" (disregarding the other corrections)?

Thank you in advance
 
  • Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Generally speaking, то stresses the logical connection between the two parts of the sentence, so the longer and more complex the sentence, the better it will look with this particle. It also disambiguates such cases as your original sentence, since due to both clauses having the same subject it could mean either "if you add it to the dressing, then dilute it too much" or "if you add it to the dressing, you'll dilute it too much".
     

    123xyz

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Thank you for the explanation of the rule. However, I don't understand the comment about my sentence with the sauce. Namely, I don't see what you mean by "if you add it to the dressing, then dilute it too much". Is the second clause suppose to be in the imperative? If it's not, it's ungrammatical, and if it is, I don't see how there could be any ambiguity in the Russian conditional sentence, since the Russian imperative is completely distinct from any other grammatical form, as it has it's own suffixes.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Actually, it's not supposed to be in the imperative (just a same-subject clause), but it could – Russian uses indicative in all tenses in the imperative meaning. As for being ungrammatical, this isn't a complete sentence but an excerpt from it.
     

    123xyz

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    When you say excerpt, did you have something like this in mind:

    If you add it to the dressing, then dilute it too much, and finally serve it to your employer like that, she'll probably fire you and find another cook (for example)

    i.e. did you mean the "then dilute it too much" as an extension of the subordinate if-clause, producing a compound predicate, rather than an independent then-clause?
     
    Top