if you'd sit on a phone book, it'd be nice to see you too

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beatrice76

Senior Member
Italian
Hello everybody,

this is from an eposide of Will and Grace; Beverly Leslie, a very short man, meets Karen at the manicurits's and says something like "Very nice to see you", then she replies with "if you'd sit on a phone book, it'd be nice to see you too" (they are both seated).

I expected "if you sat on..."
Can you clear this up, please?

Sorry if this topic has already been dealt with, I've looked for it without success.
 
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It's a conditional phrase. If you would/then I would...

    This is dialog and all rules are off in dialog. What matters most is that it sound authentic.

    The meaning is clear, she can't really talk to someone that is that short. Sitting on a phone book would make him appear to be taller.
     

    audiolaik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hello everybody,

    this is from an eposide of Will and Grace; Beverly Leslie, a very short man, meets Karen at the manicurits's and says something like "Very nice to see you", then she replies with "if you'd sit on a phone book, it'd be nice to see you too" (they are both seated).

    I expected "if you sat on..."
    Can you clear this up, please?

    Sorry if this topic has already been dealt with, I've looked for it without success.
    Hi,

    I find the joke really amusing and funny!

    If + would is used in polite requests, so Karen implies that the man is so short that, without sitting on something, she simply can't see him, let alone talk to him :D

    To me, it sounds pretty offensive and rude, but I adore that kind of sense of humour.

    It's like two people talking:

    A: Why don't you stand up?
    B: I'm!
     
    Last edited:

    beatrice76

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hi guys,

    thank you for your replies!
    The joke was very funny indeed, and the sense was pretty clear...I was wondering if that is correct, and from what Packard says, I guess it's not.

    I knew "if+past present/perfect" in the secondary clause, and "would + verb" in the main clause.
     

    audiolaik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hi guys,

    thank you for your replies!
    The joke was very funny indeed, and the sense was pretty clear...I was wondering if that is correct, and from what Packard says, I guess it's not.

    I knew "if+past present/perfect" in the secondary clause, and "would + verb" in the main clause.
    I don't think If + would, would + verb is wrong.
     

    audiolaik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    That sounds totally new to me...is there any difference between the two forms, or are they just two ways of expressing the same thing (colloquial and formal)?
    As I said before, If + will/would tends to be used in polite requests. For example:

    "I would be very grateful if you would make the arrangements for me."
    "Would" is the more formal form.

    PS Just remember that I'm not a native English speaker, so you'd better wait for others.
     
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