# If they "Should have disappeared"

#### matar0

##### Senior Member
It's normal that we answer the question:

What if rainforests disappeared?
- If the rainforests should disappear, then we would die.

Or that we put the question:
Should the rainf. disappear, what would happen then?

But what about a 3rd conditional. Can we use Should also here?
Look, is it correct to say:
IF the rainf. should have disappeared in the stone age, what would have happened then?

IF the rainf. should have disappeared, then we would have all died in the stone age.

I'd like to put the same question about "were to".
It is correct to say:
Were the rainforests to disappear, what would happen then?

Were the rainforests to disappear, then we would all die.

But is it correct to say:
Had the rainforests been to disappear in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Had the rainforests been to disappear in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.

Finally, about the structure "Imagine +Gerunde":
It is correct to say:
Imagine the rainforests disappearing / being to disappear, what would happen then?

Imaging the rainforests disappearing / being to disappear, then we would all die.

But is it correct to say:
Imagine the rainforests having disappeared/ having been to disappear in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Imagine the rainforests having disappeared / having been to disappear in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.

• It's normal that we answer the question:

What if rainforests disappeared?
- If the rainforests should disappear, then we would die.
If the rainforests disappeared we would die.

Or that we ask the question:
Should the rainf. disappear, what would happen then?
If the rainforests disappeared, what would happen?
But what about a 3rd conditional. Can we use Should also here?
Look, is it correct to say:
IF the rainf. had disappeared in the stone age, what would have happened (then)?

IF the rainf. had disappeared in the stone age, life would have ended i

I'd like to put the same question about "were to".
It is correct to say:
Were the rainforests to disappear, what would happen then?

Were the rainforests to disappear, then we would all die.

But is it correct to say:
Had the rainforests disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Had the rainforests disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.

Finally, about the structure "Imagine +Gerunde":
It is correct to say:
Imagine (if) the rainforests disappeared , what would happen then?

Imagine (if) the rainforests disappeared , then we would all die.

But is it correct to say:
Imagine if the rainforests had disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Imagine if the rainforests had disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.
I hope the chnages indicated will be of help,​

Should IF the rainf. should have disappeared in the stone age, what would have happened then?

Should IF the rainf. should have disappeared, then we would have all died in the stone age.

Were Had the rainforests been to disappear to have disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Were Had the rainforests been to disappear to have disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.
These forms are all possible, but they sound very formal and even a little archaic. I would avoid them.

I fully agree with yoiu Snowman75, they do sound archaic. Personally I would have used 'had the rainforests disappeared in the stone age ... '

However, I would disagree with you on one point:
HShould IF the rainf. should have disappeared, then we would have all died in the stone age -

We couldn't have died in the stone age cos' we weren't there!

That's why I changed it my version to 'life would have ended'
It's only academic anyway, so what the heck!

Cheers down there mate! How're the roos doin'?

I fully agree with yoiu Snowman75, they do sound archaic. Personally I would have used 'had the rainforests disappeared in the stone age ... '

However, I would disagree with you on one point:
HShould IF the rainf. should have disappeared, then we would have all died in the stone age -

We couldn't have died in the stone age cos' we weren't there!

That's why I changed it my version to 'life would have ended'
It's only academic anyway, so what the heck!

Cheers down there mate! How're the roos doin'?
Yes, I did notice that change in your post, but I figure "we" can be used in the sense of "all mankind and it's immediate ancestry".

Regarding the roos, I wouldn't be able to tell you. I live in Sydney and see about as many roos as you would in New York or London .

OK, I'll take that, a sort of 'royal' we!!

We've probably got more roos in the Buenos Aires zoo that you have in Sydney, Ha!Ha!

Quote:
Originally Posted by matar0
Should the rainf. have disappeared in the stone age, what would have happened then?

Should the rainf. have disappeared, then we would have all died in the stone age.

Were Had the rainforests been to disappear to have disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Were Had the rainforests been to disappear to have disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.

These forms are all possible, but they sound very formal and even a little archaic. I would avoid them.

From your sentences I see that is really possible to use should and were to in the 3rd conditional. Is it?
I really don't understand why I can't say the sentences:

If the rainf. should have disappeared in the stone age, what would have happened then?

If the rainf. should have disappeared, then we would have all died in the stone age.

But I can say:
Should IF the rainf. should have disappeared in the stone age, what would have happened then?

Should IF the rainf. should have disappeared, then we would have all died in the stone age.

The inversion should be only an option and not at all a must.

Furthermore, I'm not convinced about the usage of "were to". You say the correct sentences are:

Were Had the rainforests been to disappear to have disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Were Had the rainforests been to disappear to have disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.

Also here, isn't the inversion optional? Can I say so(Otherwise please tell me the correct sentence without the inversion):
If the rainforests Were to have disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

If the rainforests Were to have disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.

Moreover the meaning is not clear. Shouldn't "If the rainforests were" refer to a present-future condition even that the continuation is "If the rainforests were to have disappeared"?
Are these sentences about a 3rd conditional, about a condition in the past? Is the meaning: "If the rainforests had been about to disappear in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now"? Why can't I say this sentence as I've just stated it?

Thanks very much

Thanks, Porteño, for correcting all these faux "conditional" constructions into proper subjunctive. Keeping the subjunctive mood alive and properly taught is a hobbyhorse of mine.

People do use "would" in AE, in much the same way as you're using "should," matar0, but we also tend to drop all that and use the simple past.

If the rainforests disappear, we'll all die, and it will be ever so tiresome.

If the rainforests disappeared, we'd all die, etc.-- the contractions indicate will and would, not shall and should.

Snowman75 is right about the formality and stuffiness-- it's the use of should instead of would that makes it sound even more archaic.

My comments about the simple past are probably not very useful if your task is to answer test questions for a teacher whose style is overly formal. But Porteño's versions in the subjunctive are every bit as formal, and entirely correct.
.
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It's normal that we answer the question:

MY QUESTION WAS ABOUT IF IT IS OR NOT POSSIBLE TO USE "SHOULD" IN A 3RD CONDITIONAL SENTENCE, AND NOT HOW TO EXPRESS SIMPLIER MY IDEAS!
What if rainforests disappeared?
- If the rainforests should disappear, then we would die.
If the rainforests disappeared we would die.

Or that we ask the question:
Should the rainf. disappear, what would happen then?
If the rainforests disappeared, what would happen?
But what about a 3rd conditional. Can we use Should also here?
Look, is it correct to say:
IF the rainf. had disappeared in the stone age, what would have happened (then)?

IF the rainf. had disappeared in the stone age, life would have ended i

MY QUESTION WAS ABOUT IF IT IS OR NOT POSSIBLE TO USE "WERE TO" IN A 3RD CONDITIONAL SENTENCE, AND NOT HOW TO EXPRESS SIMPLIER MY IDEAS!
I'd like to put the same question about "were to".
It is correct to say:
Were the rainforests to disappear, what would happen then?

Were the rainforests to disappear, then we would all die.

But is it correct to say:
Had the rainforests disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Had the rainforests disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.

CAN'T IMAGINE TAKE THE GERUND? WHY DID YOU CHANGE ALL THE SENTENCES (ARE THEY NOT CORRECT? : IF IT IS SO, PLEASE TELL ME WHEN THE GERUND CAN BE USED? IS IT CORRECT THE SENTENCE: Imagine there being a nuclear disaster in London, what would happen then? )

Finally, about the structure "Imagine +Gerund":
It is correct to say:
Imagine (if) the rainforests disappeared , what would happen then?

Imagine (if) the rainforests disappeared , then we would all die.

MY QUESTION WAS: CAN WE USE IMAGINE+GERUND IN A 3RD CONDITIONAL? HOW? CAN U GIVE ME A GOOD EXAMPLE OF YOURS?
But is it correct to say:
Imagine if the rainforests had disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Imagine if the rainforests had disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.
MOREOVER YOUR USAGE OF IMAGINE LOOKS NEW TO MY EYES. IN THE EXPLICIT FORM, SHOULDN'T WE SAY: Imagine (that) the rainforests had disappeared, or simply Imagine the rainforests had disappeared?

THX VERY MUCH

Thanks, Porteño, for correcting all these faux "conditional" constructions into proper subjunctive. Keeping the subjunctive mood alive and properly taught is a hobbyhorse of mine.

People do use "would" in AE, in much the same way as you're using "should," matar0, but we also tend to drop all that and use the simple past.

If the rainforests disappear, we'll all die, and it will be ever so tiresome.

If the rainforests disappeared, we'd all die, etc.-- the contractions indicate will and would, not shall and should.

Snowman75 is right about the formality and stuffiness-- it's the use of should instead of would that makes it sound even more archaic.

My comments about the simple past are probably not very useful if your task is to answer test questions for a teacher whose style is overly formal. But Porteño's versions in the subjunctive are every bit as formal, and entirely correct.
.
.

First, remember that "should" is a subjunctive itself, while "would"that is used in AmE isn't(and by me the AmE usage of would is wrong).
Finally, Can I use instead of "should" and "would" simply "did" pracitising the inversion? Can I say:
Did the rainforests disappear, what would happen then?

In the same way as we use to say:
Had the rainforests disappeared, what would have happened then?

Thx

From your sentences I see that is really possible to use should and were to in the 3rd conditional. Is it?
I really don't understand why I can't say the sentences:

If the rainf. should have disappeared in the stone age, what would have happened then?

If the rainf. should have disappeared, then we would have all died in the stone age.

But I can say:
Should IF the rainf. should have disappeared in the stone age, what would have happened then?

Should IF the rainf. should have disappeared, then we would have all died in the stone age.

The inversion should be only an option and not at all a must.

Furthermore, I'm not convinced about the usage of "were to". You say the correct sentences are:

Were Had the rainforests been to disappear to have disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Were Had the rainforests been to disappear to have disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.

Also here, isn't the inversion optional? Can I say so(Otherwise please tell me the correct sentence without the inversion):
If the rainforests Were to have disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

If the rainforests Were to have disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.

Moreover the meaning is not clear. Shouldn't "If the rainforests were" refer to a present-future condition even that the continuation is "If the rainforests were to have disappeared"?
Are these sentences about a 3rd conditional, about a condition in the past? Is the meaning: "If the rainforests had been about to disappear in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now"? Why can't I say this sentence as I've just stated it?

Thanks very much
My apologies, matar0, you're right - the "if" forms are just as valid.

Just to be clear, these are the possibilities:

1. If they should disappear ...
2. Should they disappear ...
3. If they were to disappear ...
4. Were they to disappear ...
5. If they should have disappeared ...
6. Should they have disappeared ...
7. If they were to have disappeared ...
8. Were they to have disappeared ...
9. If they had disappeared ...

Forms 1-4 above are identical in meaning.
Forms 5-8 are identical in meaning.
Forms 9 and 10 are identical in meaning (and almost identical to 5-8).

My apologies, matar0, you're right - the "if" forms are just as valid.

Just to be clear, these are the possibilities:

1. If they should disappear ...
2. Should they disappear ...
3. If they were to disappear ...
4. Were they to disappear ...
5. If they should have disappeared ...
6. Should they have disappeared ...
7. If they were to have disappeared ...
8. Were they to have disappeared ...
9. If they had disappeared ...

Forms 1-4 above are identical in meaning.
Forms 5-8 are identical in meaning.
Forms 9 and 10 are identical in meaning (and almost identical to 5-8).

Your message has been very useful, but I still have some doubts(fewer than before!). The meaning of "were to have disappeared" is not clear to me.
I now(25.08.2006) modified this message.
Don't read the continuation of This message but Please give a look to msg#18 http://forum.wordreference.com/showpost.php?p=1368888&postcount=18, for the continuation (now I realised the difference between "were to" and "were about to", but if "were to" in the past becomes "were to have Verb-ed", then "were about to" should become(??) "had been about to"?

Shouldn't "If the rainforests were" refer to a present-future condition even that the continuation is "If the rainforests were to have disappeared"?
Are these sentences about a 3rd conditional, about a condition in the past? What's the meaning?Is it really the corresponding form of "Were the rainforests to disappear next month" in the past? Can we say "Were the rainforests have been to disappear in the stone age?". Is the meaning: "If the rainforests had been about to disappear in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now"? Why can't I say this sentence as I've just stated it?
Besides, I would say that "Should" and "Were to" don't have exactly the same meaning(so for instance the forms 1-4 are not identical).
"Should the rainforests disappear" is the same as "If the rainforests disappeared" and means "to disappear suddenly, in an instant and with no reason", but "Were the rainforests (about) to disappear" is different: the meaning is that they started to disappear some time ago and now, they will soon completely disappear. So, if this is all correct, why you say that it is correct to say about the past : "Were the rainforests to have disappeared" . As I see it, it means sthg like: "If the rainforests should now, look as if they had disappeared in the past".
So, why can't we move the "were the rainforests (about) to disappear" of the 2nd conditional to "had the rainforests been (about) to disappear" in the 3rd conditional?
Please give a look to msg#18 http://forum.wordreference.com/showpost.php?p=1368888&postcount=18, for the continuation (now I realised the difference between "were to" and "were about to", but if "were to" in the past becomes "were to have Verb-ed", then "were about to" should become(??) "had been about to"?

Thanks very much

Dear matar0,
May I have my final word on this subject?
We are all here to help each other sort out problems we may have with the English language. However, we also expect the questions to be reasonable and based on study and research. The grammar of any language is something which has to be studied and learned and the rules thereof must be adhered to in general, although colloquial or regional usage may sometimes 'bend' these a little.. You must not try to 'force' structures which a little research would show you are simply impossible and furthermore make no sense. There have been many replies to this thread which have clearly explained why some of the sentences you proposed are either incorrect, unacceptable or even impossible. Any changes that are proposed, and I am sure I speak for everyone on this, are made with the intention of helping the questioner and not merely criticizing him/her. In other words they are constructive. Perhaps you should take a little more time to study those responses before coming up with further repetitive questions.
Having said that, I would like to assure you that I am always available and willing to answer and comment on your questions but would just ask you to give them more thought before you pose them.

MY QUESTION WAS: CAN WE USE IMAGINE+GERUND IN A 3RD CONDITIONAL? HOW? CAN U GIVE ME A GOOD EXAMPLE OF YOURS?
But is it correct to say:
Imagine if the rainforests had disappeared in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done then?

Imagine if the rainforests had disappeared in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now.
MOREOVER YOUR USAGE OF IMAGINE LOOKS NEW TO MY EYES. IN THE EXPLICIT FORM, SHOULDN'T WE SAY: Imagine (that) the rainforests had disappeared, or simply Imagine the rainforests had disappeared?

Yes, your sentences are quite correct. I accidentally forgot to bracket the 'if' to indicate that it was not essential, but could be used. Therefore it would be quite correct to say 'imagine the rainforests had disappeared' is OK but I think would sound more natural with 'if'.

MY QUESTION WAS: CAN WE USE IMAGINE+GERUND IN A 3RD CONDITIONAL? HOW? CAN U GIVE ME A GOOD EXAMPLE OF YOURS?

Yes, in some circumstances a gerund may be used in a 3rd Conditional. I quote from 'A Practical English Grammar':

Page 200 Section 223 Conditional sentences type 3

B Possible variations of the basic form

2. The continuous form of the present perfect conditional may be used:

If Tom's boy had not been there, I would have been sitting in front.

3. We can use the past perfect continuous in the if clause

I was wearing a seat belt. If I hadn't been wearing one, I would have been severely injured.

Sorry you all for using capitals.
My last question was:
Are the following sentence correct? (using the structure: Imagine+Verb-ing) :
Imagine there being an earthquake in London tomorrow, what would happen then?
Imagine the rainforests disappearing tomorrow, what would happen then?

I'm not trying to force the discussion, my native teacher taught me this usage and I'm quite confident it is correct.
Now, my own new question, is:
Are the following sentences in 3rd conditional correct?
Imagine there having been an earthquake in London yesterday, what would have happened then?
Imagine the rainforests having disappeared yesterday, what would we have done then?

Finally, I'd like to know more about "were to".
Which is the corresponding form in the past of "Were the rainforests about to disappear" ? Can we say "If the rainforests had been about to disappear in the stone age, our ancestors would have all died, and we wouldn't be here now"? Or: "Were the rainforests have been (about) to disappear in the stone age?".

The sentences using gerund in the 3rd conditional appear correct to me. If that's all the information you're looking for, there it is; skip to the next paragraph if you're not interested in hearing what impression they leave on the reader. They strike me as unnecessarily complicated. If I encountered them in a text, I would wonder why the author was working so hard to say something that could have been said much more simply. I would get the impression that the person either was not totally in command of the language, or enjoyed the process of deliberately over-complicating a sentence. (You're welcome to ignore the editorial.)

"Were to" is a hypothetical condition and does not have the meaning of "about to", in my opinion. The following two sentences do not mean the same thing:

"If the rainforests were to disappear suddenly, what would you do?"
"If the rainforests were about to disappear suddenly, what would you do?"

The two questions boil down to: "What would you do after the rainforests disappeared suddenly, if it were to happen?" and "What would you do
before the rainforests disappeared suddenly, if you knew it were about to happen?"

The sentences using gerund in the 3rd conditional appear correct to me. If that's all the information you're looking for, there it is; skip to the next paragraph if you're not interested in hearing what impression they leave on the reader. They strike me as unnecessarily complicated. If I encountered them in a text, I would wonder why the author was working so hard to say something that could have been said much more simply. I would get the impression that the person either was not totally in command of the language, or enjoyed the process of deliberately over-complicating a sentence. (You're welcome to ignore the editorial.)

"Were to" is a hypothetical condition and does not have the meaning of "about to", in my opinion. The following two sentences do not mean the same thing:

"If the rainforests were to disappear suddenly, what would you do?"
"If the rainforests were about to disappear suddenly, what would you do?"

The two questions boil down to: "What would you do after the rainforests disappeared suddenly, if it were to happen?" and "What would you do
before the rainforests disappeared suddenly, if you knew it were about to happen?"

You say:The sentences using gerund in the 3rd conditional appear correct to you, but you didn't give me an example.
About "were to" and "were about to" the sentences you gave me are still 2nd conditional. A 3rd conditional to me should be sthg like:
If the rainforests had been to disappear in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done?
If the rainforests had been about to disappear in the stone age, what would our ancestors have done to remedy?

About imaging, look at msg #18 of this discussion ,that is http://forum.wordreference.com/showpost.php?p=1368888&postcount=18.

It appears to me you are more interested in arguing than in actually receiving answers to your questions.

YOU provided the examples in 3rd conditional (as I understood your question) and asked if they were correct. I answered your question. See the following:

Now, my own new question, is:
Are the following sentences in 3rd conditional correct?
Imagine there having been an earthquake in London yesterday, what would have happened then?
Imagine the rainforests having disappeared yesterday, what would we have done then?

Finally, I'd like to know more about "were to".
Does it mean "were about to" or it is simply a synonym of "If it were/If there were"?
I answered that question as well. Apparently, I am to be chided for not answering questions that you didn't ask in your most recent post. That is not conducive to any kind of discussion, in my mind. I've made whatever contribution, however correct or incorrect, that I'll be making to this thread.

It appears to me you are more interested in arguing than in actually receiving answers to your questions.

YOU provided the examples in 3rd conditional (as I understood your question) and asked if they were correct. I answered your question. See the following: