Conditional 2: If John <works, worked> hard, he could pass the examination.

vtg81

Senior Member
Italian
Hello

I'm taking this test:

If John _____ hard, he could pass the examination.
  1. works
  2. has worked
  3. had worked
  4. worked
They say number 1 "works" is the right answer, but I cannot understand what is wrong with answer number 4 "worked". Isn't it a conditional type II ? Are they both correct?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    I would say that 1 is the best answer because it's the most likely statement, but 2 and 4 both seem grammatically acceptable to me. Come to think of it, I'm not sure that 2 and 4 are conditionals as such: they don't propose hypothetical situations. It's more like the speaker is claiming ignorance towards how hard John may have worked.

    "I don't know if John has worked diligently to prepare for this test. If John has worked hard, he could pass the examination."

    "I don't know if, when he was at the training camp, John worked diligently to prepare for this test. If John worked hard, he could pass the examination."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Both are correct conditional sentences.

    If you use (1) the sentence is a type one conditional: a hypothetical condition that is likely to be true, but not yet verified.
    If ... works ... could pass.

    If you use (4) the sentence is a type two conditional: a hypothetical condition that is unlikely to be true.
    If ... worked .... could pass.
     
    Last edited:

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello

    I'm taking this test:




    If John _____ hard, he could pass the examination.
    1. works
    2. has worked
    3. had worked
    4. worked
    They say number 1 "works" is the right answer, but I cannot understand what is wrong with answer number 4 "worked". Isn't it a conditional type II ? Are they both correct?

    Thank you in advance.
    The problem with this question resides in uncertainty over the tense of 'could'. It can be a present (I may be able to), and it can be a past (I was able to), it can be a conditional (I would be able to), and it can be a future (I will be able to).

    Type 1 conditionals take the form If...present tense, then...future tense...

    Type 2 conditionals take the form If...past tense, then...conditional tense...

    If John works hard, he could (future) pass the examination.:tick:Type 1
    If John has (present) worked hard, he could (future) pass the examination.:tick:Type 1
    If John had worked hard hard, he could have passed the examination.:tick:Type 3 (not included in the possibilities in the question).
    If John worked hard, he could (conditional) pass the examination.:tick:Type 2

    As you can see, Vtg, all three of 1,2, and 4, are perfectly correct, in my view. The authors of this test need to revise tense use with could. I have sympathy with them, because it's a difficult field in English, but they chose to construct the test on it.
     
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