‘She looked like Starsky, if Starsky were hot .... [Past implicit inference conditional?]

Student4ever

New Member
Czech
Hi,

I have got a problem with past implicit and explicit inference conditionals. It says that
Factual conditionals can have implicit or explicit interference and their structure can have both verbs in the past tenses. Therefore I think that the following sentence could be past implicit inference.
She looked like Starsky, if Starsky were hot and a woman and drove really nervously’.
Is this sentence an example of such a conditional?

Thank you
 
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  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Take a look at this link:
    << Link no longer functions. panjandrum 18-July-2015 >>

    Your conditional looks like what they describe as "imaginative counterfactual conditionals" (I don't believe I even said that :)). It is because she is not Starsky and Starsky is not hot and is not a woman and is not driving really nervously.

    Quite frankly, I don't remember ever digging so deeply into the (superfluous :eek:) classification of conditionals, but to me, quite simply, this is the subjunctive mood used in a conditional sentence. Very much like If I were you...

    Hope that helps.
     
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    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    She looked like Starsky, if Starsky were hot and a woman and drove really nervously’.

    The "if" clause follows the normal pattern of a "type 2 conditional".
    ... if Starsky were hot and a woman and drove really nervously’.

    The main clause is odd. A normal type 2 clause would be:
    She would look like Starsky...

    But that's not right. That's not what the original sentence says.
    Closer to the original is:
    She looked like Starsky would look if he were hot and a woman and drove really nervously.
    And that seems to me to be a standard type 2 conditional.
    In the original sentence "would look" has been omitted.

    All of which is probably irrelevant to the question about past implicit and explicit conditionals ... as I have no idea what those are :)

    (Like boozer, I am startled to find myself talking about the technicalities of conditional sentences in this way. I had never even heard of conditional types before arriving in WordReference, and it's only quite recently that I managed to find out more. This stuff seems to be an integral part of teaching English for non-natives, but completely unknown, and unnecessary, for natives.)



     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi Student4ever and welcome to the forums:)

    Like boozer and panj, I hadn't come across this terminology before, so I went googling and found the site that boozer linked and also this one, which says that
    Implicit inference conditionals express inferences about specific time-bound relationships (e.g., "If anyone celebrated that night, it was Peter") and tend to have the same tense and aspect or the same modal in both clauses. ...
    Explicit inference conditionals are similar ... [but] do not have parallel tenses, aspects, or modals in both clauses. The result clause contains an inferential modal -- usually "must" or "should." Past inference conditionals with either of these modals is expressed by adding "have + -en" (i.e., past perfect) after the modal.
    Assuming the guidance you've been given is similar, then to turn your sentence into a 'past implicit inference conditional', you'd need to make it read something like:
    If the driver was hot and a woman and drove really nervously, then it was Starsky's daughter, not Starsky himself.

    As a 'past explicit inference conditional', this might read:
    If the driver was hot and a woman and drove really nervously, then it must have been Starsky's daughter, not Starsky himself.
     
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