a adverbial clause in second conditional

prudent260

Senior Member
Chinese
I was writing something about the famous movie, Roma.
Netflix subtitled the movie in Castilian Spanish even though actors in the movie talked in Mexican Spanish, which have triggered criticism against Netflix.


A question has hit me (I wrote the sentences myself):
"That might just distract me because the subtitles are different from what I hear if I were watching the movie."
"That might just distract me because the subtitles were different from what I heard if I were watching the movie."


If there is a clause in a second conditional sentence, what tense should I use in the clause?
Is either one of the above natural?

Thank you.
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    No, neither sentence is natural.

    That might distract me because the subtitles are different from what/the words I can hear if I speak Spanish.

    (Surely, it's assumed that you are 'watching the movie' if this is a problem for you; the problem arises if you speak Spanish and can hear the difference between Castilian and Mexican Spanish).
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "That might just distract me because the subtitles are different from what I hear if I were watching the movie."
    You've got a potential 2nd conditional in a because-clause.

    In my view you need to keep the form of the 2nd conditional (conditional in main clause/simple past in if-clause).

    So I think you should write "That might just distract me because the subtitles are different from what I would hear if I were/or was watching the movie."
     

    prudent260

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    That might distract me(main) because the subtitles are different from what I hear if I were watching the movie.

    I think the part in bold is the main clause for the if clause (2nd conditional). My question is what tense I should use in the because clause.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That might distract me(main) because the subtitles are different from what I hear if I were watching the movie.

    I think the part in bold is the main clause for the if clause (2nd conditional). My question is what tense I should use in the because clause.
    If you wish it to mean this you need to alter the order - If I was watching the movie, that might distract me, because the subtitles are different from what I would hear.

    I'd prefer because the subtitles don't reflect what I would hear; that removes the dangerous antithesis between 'the subtitles' and 'what I hear'.
     
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