Can "unless" be used in "imaginary" or "hypothetical" conditional sentences?

Junwei Guo

Senior Member
Chinese
"Businesses will not survive unless they satisfy their customers."
1. If i change it to: "The company would not survive unless it satisfied its customers.", does the sentence make sense? If so, what is it trying to convey? Does it mean the company will or will not survive?
2. Can "unless" be used in "imaginary" or "hypothetical" conditional sentences?
Thank you so much!
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  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "The company would not survive unless it satisfied its customers" is fine. It's a conditional sentence, so whether or not the company survives depends on whether it fulfills the condition. A slightly more natural wording might be "The company would not survive if it didn't satisfy its customers."
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "The company would not survive unless it satisfied its customers" is fine. It's a conditional sentence, so whether or not the company survives depends on whether it fulfills the condition. A slightly more natural wording might be "The company would not survive if it didn't satisfy its customers."
    Can the sentence imply that 【the fact that the company fails to satisfy its customers means it will not survive】? You know, I’m trying to use “unless” in an imaginary conditional sentence, as in:

    I wouldn’t be saying this unless I were sure of the facts.
     
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