Conditional (mixed)? If you were taller you would play basketball as a professional.

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novice_81

Senior Member
German
Hi

Is it a good sentence:

1. If you were taller you would play basketball as a professional.

I wanted it to be a mixed conditional

Thanks
 
  • KON

    Senior Member
    If you were taller you would have played basketball as a professional (if + past simple, would have + past participle)

    The sentence that comes up in my mind is:

    If you had had the height requirement you would have been a professional basketball player (If + past perfect, would have + past participle)

    or

    If you had had the height requirement, you would be a professional basketball player now. (if + past perfect, woudld + infinitive)



    (you don't "need" a height requirement to play basketball, but in this context I assume that the team has a height requirement as part of their player policy)
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'd say "could play" is better, novice_81. "Would" implies that the person spoken to would definitely play basketball as a professional; "could" implies he would be able to.

    What makes you want to call this a "mixed conditional"?
     

    novice_81

    Senior Member
    German
    No, i was wrong. It's just a second conditional.

    On second thought: If you were taller (now) you would (in the future) play basketball. Then I guess it would be a mixed cond.

    but I guess it doesn't work this way :)
     

    KON

    Senior Member
    Well that's a good question, I guess you "could" have been a professional basketball player. I don't think there is a rule of thump to use only "would" and it isn't excruciating to my ears (at least to mine) but personally for some odd reason which can't really explain I would use "would". Maybe it's because (I think) "would" is more definite than "could", and therefore you risk making it a suggestion.

    Any other thoughts from natives on this one?
     

    RoadFox

    Senior Member
    English - New Zealand
    Would is more definite than could, as KON and Loob said.

    In answer to the original question I would always use "could" because it´s something that seems to be being given as an opinion more than a fact. "Would" really implies that this is absolutely going to be the case, that when this person becomes taller they will play basketball professionally. This isn´t really something you can know for definite, so it´s best to use "could".
     
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