It's so cold

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yuranos

Senior Member
Ukrainian, Russian
Hi there!
I have a conditional questions:
It's so cold, it would be surprising if we don't/didn't get snow tonight.
Both options are possible but I can't understand why mixed conditional structure can be applied. If we already have it would how come don't is an option?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    If I may get rid of the negative:

    It's so warm, it would be surprising if it snows tonight.
    It's so warm, it would be surprising if it snowed tonight.

    Both are looking forward to an event, #1 by using the present to express the future, and #2 in the subjunctive sense of if it were to snow.
     

    yuranos

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian, Russian
    Thank you, PaulQ!
    I understand the grammar but what is the difference?
    Could you as a native speaker feel any difference? Why is main clause not hypothetical while conditional clause is?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Easy bit first - I don't think there is a difference.

    In #1, I think this is simply the loss of the subjunctive that, 100 years ago, would have been used: It's so warm, it would be surprising if it snows snow tonight.
    In #2, see my post #2 - I think the conditional implication is there - but hidden. :)

    New York supplement, Volume 103 (1907) at Page 267
    But with several hundred miles of streets to take care of, a city cannot clear them of every fall of snow or covering of ice, nor is it required to try to. For if it snow or freeze today it will rain or thaw tomorrow or soon, ...
     
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