..., if it would gain him a momentary advantage.

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salai

Senior Member
Russian
Hello,

These are lines from a review of Jeffrey Archer's book 'The Fourth Estate':
'One was a hustler, a thief, ready to change his story, even his identity, if it would gain him a momentary advantage. The other was the scion of a well-known family, groomed for a public role from his earliest years, a rebel who didn't care if anyone approved of what he got up to.'

Could you explain why the author used 'would' after 'if': '... if it would gain him ...'
If it is a II Type Conditional sentence, don't we use 'Past simple' after 'if'?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • salai

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It is the past simple, Salai: "would" is (among other things) just the past tense of "will."
    Dear Glenfarclas,
    I do know that 'would' is, among other things, the past tense of 'will', but in the part I am confused about, I would say: '... if it gained him a momentary advantage.'
     

    apricots

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Dear Glenfarclas,
    I do know that 'would' is, among other things, the past tense of 'will', but in the part I am confused about, I would say: '... if it gained him a momentary advantage.'
    Try this easier example:

    He would steal if it would help. <-- This implies that he is willing to steal if stealing would improve the situation.
    He would steal if it helped. <-- This implies that he would steal but he doesn't because stealing wouldn't improve the situation.

    Does that help?
     

    salai

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Try this easier example:

    He would steal if it would help. <-- This implies that he is willing to steal if stealing would improve the situation.
    He would steal if it helped. <-- This implies that he would steal but he doesn't because stealing wouldn't improve the situation.

    Does that help?
    Yes, it does. Thank you.
     
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