If you should have time, I would be much obliged ...

vladv

Senior Member
Russian-Russia
To sound polite, would it be correct to write the following sentence. " If you should have time, I would be much obliged if you would answer the question on the topic that eludes me ( or should it be on A topic)
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    If you should have time, I would be much obliged if you would answer the question on the topic that eludes me ( or should it be on A topic)
    Should have time sounds a little odd to me. Perhaps it sounds ordinary in British English.

    Indefinite articles before question and topic seem ordinary, Vlad. Here is my slightly altered version of your sentence: If you have the time, I would be much obliged if you would answer a question on a topic that eludes me.
     

    analeeh

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    'should have' sounds a bit Jane Austen or at best Enid Blyton to me - not wrong, but not very likely in contemporary BrE. Otherwise I agree with owlman.

    To achieve the same distancing effect, you could say: 'if you happen to have the time...'
     

    vladv

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    Should have time sounds a little odd to me. Perhaps it sounds ordinary in British English.

    Indefinite articles before question and topic seem ordinary, Vlad. Here is my slightly altered version of your sentence: If you have the time, I would be much obliged if you would answer a question on a topic that eludes me.
    Thanks. Could you please explain why you used "the time" and not just "time"
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    You're welcome.
    Could you please explain why you used "the time" and not just "time"
    Because the time popped into my head as I was writing the sentence. Being a native speaker, I don't spend any time worrying about the use of articles. Time would work just as well in that sentence. This is one of many instances in which the decision to use or omit an article is arbitrary.
     

    vladv

    Senior Member
    Russian-Russia
    You're welcome.

    Because the time popped into my head as I was writing the sentence. Being a native speaker, I don't spend any time worrying about the use of articles. Time would work just as well in that sentence. This is one of many instances in which the decision to use or omit an article is arbitrary.
    Thanks!
     
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