Congratulations if you were the Provost [used for when 'you' are Provost now?]


Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
You would say:

[1] I travel around the world if I have enough money.
[2] I would travel around the world if I had enough money.

2 is used to make the tone of the sentence milder, and have the listeners think it is impossible that the speaker travel around the world now. The second conditional is used to soften the overtone of a sentence.

Now, what about this?

(You see a post in Facebook with a picture that is written in Polish, and you suppose the poster, a friend of yours, is now the Provost of a university. You don't speak Polish)

You say to him in a comment, "Are you now the Provost of the university?" and go on to say
[3] Congratulations if you are the Provost.
[4] Congratulations if you were the Provost.

Would you also say 4, shorthand for 'I would like to say "Congratulations" if you were the Provost'?
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    In your two examples [2] doesn't make [1] softer.
    [1] tells me that whenever you have enough money you travel round the world.
    [2] tells me that you don't have enough money but if you did, you would travel round the world.

    [4] would mean that you think he used to be the provost. It would sound odd, given that you have just asked him whether he is the provost at present.
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