"Should Britain leave the bloc,..."

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grimbergen

Senior Member
Korean
Hello, I read the following paragraph, explaining the graph, from the NYT:

New trade pacts could be a problem.

Should it leave the bloc, Britain would have to broker new arrangements with dozens of nations, including the United States, which accounts for 16.6 percent of its goods exports. In April, President Obama suggested that the United States would not rush to create a new trade deal with Britain.
(http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/06/19/world/europe/brexit-debate-immigration-trade.html?_r=0)

I always find the subjunctive and conditional tenses extremely confusing. I was wondering the reason the writer wrote "should it leave the bloc" instead of "If it were to leave the bloc/ Were it to leave the bloc" because she/he sees the chances are very slim. As far as I know, both indicates the subjunctive of the future.

Edit: In the article, under the "Financial companies might leave" headline, it says "Financial firms have already indicated they could move jobs out of Britain if it leaves the European Union." In this case the writer believes that the chances of a British departure from the EU is 50:50?

Can anyone please explain about this? Thank you in advance! =)
 
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  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    I was wondering the reason the writer wrote "should it leave the bloc" instead of "If it were to leave the bloc/ Were it to leave the bloc" because she/he sees the chances are very slim.
    I don't think the writer chose those words specifically because he/she felt the chances of Britain leaving are slim. There was more than one choice of phrase available; this is the one the writer chose.
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I have no sense at all of greater or lesser possibility or probability, depending on choice of the structures discussed.

    If the UK were to leave the EU ...
    Were the UK to leave the EU ...
    If the UK leaves the EU ...
    Should the UK leave the EU ...

    It shouldn't be 'Britain' anyway, it should be 'the UK'. More confusing than sentence conditionality!
    :thumbsup:
    It's so annoying. Britain meant England and Wales, note the past tense because it has meant little for several hundred years, arguably one thousand six hundred odd years since the Romans left. Great Britain means England, Scotland and Wales, while the UK is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".

    I suppose it's rather like calling the USA 'America'.

    Are Britain, Great Britain and the UK the same country?
     

    grimbergen

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thank you all, Barque, sound shift, Highland Thing, and Hermione Golightly! I must be mistaken when it comes to the tenses of conditionality. And thanks for also pointing out that calling the UK only as Britain is wrong. I have no idea why the NYT did so.
     
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