If she's not in her office, she has probably left.

Nawee

Senior Member
Thai
Hello,

Does this sentence have a "predictive" meaning?

"If she's not in her office, she has probably left."
(= She is not in her office now because I think she has left.)

Thank you.

N
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Does she has probably left have a predictive meaning? I'd say not, because we can't predict something which has already happened.

    However there's a sense in which it could be taken to mean you will find that she has probably left, and that is predictive.

    As you can see, I'm not happy sticking such a label on your sentence.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The phrase she's probably in the canteen is a statement about where she is now.
    It can only be predictive in the sense mentioned by Thomas.
    Even then I find I predict that she is in the canteen somewhat strange.
    Can you turn a sentence (Goat cheese is a Norwegian speciality) into a prediction by prefacing that You will find that ...)?

    I think not.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Why are you asking, Nawee?

    (I think I'd say that both sentences are examples of deductions rather than predictions.)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Why are you asking, Nawee?

    (I think I'd say that both sentences are examples of deductions rather than predictions.)
    I agree entirely.

    How about this syllogism? -

    If she's not in her office, you will find her in the canteen.
    She's not in her office.


    Therefore (deduction from the two premises) you will find her in the canteen (prediction).:):rolleyes:

    Deductions can be predictive, I'd say, though the ones produced by Nawee haven't yet, in my view, had this character.
     

    Nawee

    Senior Member
    Thai
    Ah... I think I may have confused "deductions" with "predictions". Thank you.

    So what kind of meaning is this conditional? In grammar books, they talk about factual, predictive, hypothetical and counter-factual.

    It's just that the verb forms don't match any of the "formula" taught in class. So I don't know what kind of meaning is implied in this sentence:

    If she's not in the office, she has probably left.

    Do we know for sure she's not in the office? If we know for sure, why is "if" used?
     
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