If I had ... I would (conditional sentences)

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DearPrudence

Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
IdF
French (lower Normandy)
Hello,

I’d like to know what tenses you use in a conditional sentence (especially the "if" clause). It’ll be clearer with an example.

English:
If I had money, I would buy a house.
if + preterit / conditional

French:
Si j’avais de l’argent, j’achèterais une maison.
si + imperfect / conditional

Spanish:
Si tuviera dinero, compraría una casa.
si + imperfect subjunctive / conditional



I must admit I’m particularly interested in Romance languages and Germanic languages first :eek:

Thanks!
 
  • Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Portuguese:

    Se tivesse dinheiro, compraria uma casa.
    se + imperfect subjunctive / conditional

    This is standard, but, especially in Portugal, a common variant is:

    Se tivesse dinheiro, comprava uma casa.
    se + imperfect subjunctive / imperfect indicative

    Another possibility, which I would say is substandard, but sometimes heard:

    Se tinha dinheiro, comprava uma casa.
    se + imperfect indicative / imperfect indicative

    English:
    If I had money, I would buy a house.
    if + preterit / conditional
    In the case of English, it's debatable whether the first verb comes in the preterit or the past subjunctive. Ordinarily the two are the same, but remember the exception of the verb "to be":

    If I were rich, I would buy a house.
     
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    DearPrudence

    Dépêche Mod (AL mod)
    IdF
    French (lower Normandy)
    Thanks, Outsider :)

    Yes, I was aware of the "if I were" thing but really wanted to avoid it because I was afraid people would "hijack" the thread and debate on what to call that in English :( :D

    (also, in French, some people say:
    "Si j'aurais de l'argent, j'achèterais une maison" (If I would have money,...) and it always drives me up the wall: I don't understand why they would do that!!)
     

    CapnPrep

    Senior Member
    AmE
    (also, in French, some people say:
    "Si j'aurais de l'argent, j'achèterais une maison" (If I would have money,...) and it always drives me up the wall: I don't understand why they would do that!!)
    People also say this in English, and it's probably for the same reason: It's easier and it makes quite a lot of sense to use the same verb form in both clauses. That's how it was in Latin, and that's how it is in many modern languages (I predict that we are about to see some examples…) The same tendency can be seen in French examples like si j'eusse eu…, j'eusse acheté…, which is super-correct and doesn't drive anybody anywhere.
     

    sakvaka

    Senior Member
    Italian: Se io avessi soldi, comprerei una casa. (native opinions wanted!)

    That is, subjunctive imperfect + conditional present. Se io avrei soldi, comprerei una casa is, as far as I know, considered wrong in standard language.

    I knew you didn't ask anything about Finnish and Swedish, but here they are. ;)

    Finnish: Jos minulla olisi rahaa, ostaisin talon. (conditional present in both clauses)
    Swedish: Om jag hade pengar, skulle jag köpa hus. (imperfect + conditional present)
     
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    Rallino

    Moderatoúrkos
    Turkish
    [...]

    I knew you didn't ask anything about Finnish and Swedish, but here they are. ;)
    [...]
    Swedish: Om jag hade pengar, skulle jag köpa hus. (imperfect + conditional present)
    Well, Swedish is a Germanic Language, so it's on the list of requested languages. ;)

    Norwegian has the same logic:

    Hvis jeg hadde penger, ville jeg kjøpe et hus. (imperfect/preterit + conditional present)


    ------------

    Turkish
    has two ways to convey the conditionals of unreal present. Both mean the same thing, and are equally used.

    Param olsa, ev alırım. (Pure conditional + aorist)
    Param olsa, ev alırdım. (Pure conditional + aorist past)
     

    Orlin

    Banned
    български
    If I had money, I would buy a house.
    Bulgarian: Ако имах пари, бих купил къща. (imperfect + conditional)
    Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian: Da imam novca, kupio bih kuću. (present + conditional)
    Russian: Если бы у меня было денег, я купил бы дом. (conditional + conditional)
     
    In Greek:

    «Αν είχα χρήματα, θα αγόραζα σπίτι»
    /an 'ixa 'xrimata θa a'ɣoraza 'spiti/
    lit. "If I had money, I will was buying a house"
    If + preterite / future particle + imperfective past (conditional)
     
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    Rallino

    Moderatoúrkos
    Turkish
    In Greek:

    «Αν είχα χρήματα, θα αγόραζα σπίτι»
    /an 'ixa 'xrimata θa a'ɣoraza 'spiti/
    lit. "If I had money, I will bought a house"
    If + preterite / future particle + imperfective past (conditional)
    Isn't it παρατατικό ? I will was buying, am I wrong? Thanks in advance.
     

    Frank78

    Senior Member
    German
    English:
    If I had money, I would buy a house.
    if + preterit / conditinal
    Wenn ich Geld hätte, würde ich ein Haus kaufen.
    wenn (or: falls) + Konjunktiv II / würde + infinitive

    Konjunktiv is a seperate verb form (but formed from the stem of the past verb, in this case: hatte) and not a tense. It's one of the three moods indicative, imperative and subjunctive (Konjunktiv).

    In spoken language lots of people use two times "würde + infinitive":
    Wenn ich Geld haben würde, würde ich ein Haus kaufen.
     
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    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    (also, in French, some people say:
    "Si j'aurais de l'argent, j'achèterais une maison" (If I would have money,...) and it always drives me up the wall: I don't understand why they would do that!!)
    It reminds me of the famous quote:

    "Si j'aurais su, j'aurais pas venu" (Little Gibus) - correctly "Si j'avais su, je ne serais pas venu".
     

    bibax

    Senior Member
    Czech (Prague)
    Czech has two conditionals - present and past.

    So there are four variants of the given sentence:

    1. if present conditional, present conditional (the commonest variant) 
    2. if past conditional, past conditional (less common)
    3. if past conditional, present conditional (less common, hardly useful for the given sentence)
    4. if present conditional, past conditional (quite nonsensical)

    1. Kdybych měl peníze, koupil bych (si) dům. ... in the present
    2. Kdybych byl měl peníze, byl bych (si) koupil dům. ... in the past
    (3. Kdybych byl měl peníze, koupil bych (si) dům.)
    (4. Kdybych měl peníze, byl bych (si) koupil dům.)

    The Czech (present) conditional is formed by the aorist of the auxiliary verb to be (bych, bys, by, bychom, byste, by - the only aorist preserved in Czech) and the past participle (l-participle): já bych koupil (= I should buy).
     

    Arath

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    In Bulgarian we have quite a few conditionals (present probable, present improbable, two past improbables, zero present, zero past, and we could have all of these both in the indicative and renarrative mood), so I'm just going to give the translation of the example you've given:

    (present improbable)
    If I had money, I would buy a house:

    Indicative mood:
    Ако имах пари, щях да си купя къща. (Past imperfect in the if-clause, future in the past in the other clause). This means: "If I had money, I would definitely buy a house".

    Ако имах пари, бих си купил къща. (Past imperfect in the if-clause and conditional mood in the main clause). This means: "If I had money, I would consider the possibility of buying a house".

    Renarrative mood:
    Ако имал пари, щял да си купи къща. (Past/Present renarrative in the if-clause, future/future in the past renarrative in the main clause). This means both "If he had money, he would buy a house" and "If he has money, he will buy a house". The conditional mood doesn't have a renarrative equivalent.
     

    ThomasK

    Senior Member
    Belgium, Dutch
    Dutch: in principle as in French:

    Als ik rijk was (past tense), zou ik het kopen (conditional).

    But there is ample room for variations:

    Als ik rijk zou zijn, zou ik het kopen ( 2 x conditional).
    Als ik rijk was, kocht ik het (2 x past)

    Maybe our northern neighbours, the Dutch, are stricter though.
     
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    Orlin

    Banned
    български
    In Bulgarian we have quite a few conditionals (present probable, present improbable, two past improbables, zero present, zero past, and we could have all of these both in the indicative and renarrative mood), so I'm just going to give the translation of the example you've given:

    (present improbable)
    If I had money, I would buy a house:

    Indicative mood:
    Ако имах пари, щях да си купя къща. (Past imperfect in the if-clause, future in the past in the other clause). This means: "If I had money, I would definitely buy a house".

    Ако имах пари, бих си купил къща. (Past imperfect in the if-clause and conditional mood in the main clause). This means: "If I had money, I would consider the possibility of buying a house".

    Renarrative mood:
    Ако имал пари, щял да си купи къща. (Past/Present renarrative in the if-clause, future/future in the past renarrative in the main clause). This means both "If he had money, he would buy a house" and "If he has money, he will buy a house". The conditional mood doesn't have a renarrative equivalent.
    About Bulgarian see this thread of mine.
     

    itreius

    Senior Member
    Assembly
    Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian: Da imam novca, kupio bih kuću. (present + conditional)
    Also,

    Kad bih imao novca, kupio bih kuću.

    less formal:

    Kad bih imao love, kupio bih kuću.

    dialectal and archaic:

    Če bi (naj) imel peneze, kupil bi hižu.
     

    Istriano

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    If I would have money, I would buy a house.
    Si tendría dinero, me compraría una casa.



    Conditional would is sometimes used in both clauses of an if-sentences. This is very informal, and is not usually written. It is common in spoken American English:
    It would be good if we'd get some rain.
    How would be feel if this would happen to our family?
    Practical English Usage (3rd edition) by M. Swan

    Debe evitarse el uso en la prótasis del condicional simple o pospretérito, propio de hablantes españoles del País Vasco y zonas limítrofes como Navarra, Burgos, Cantabria y La Rioja, y que también se da en algunas zonas de América:Si tendría dinero, me compraría un coche.
    (DPD, RAE)


    Note the difference in tone: descriptive by the English, and prescriptive by the Spanish for the same phenomenon.

    :)
     
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