The modals will, would, can, and could
often appear in conditional sentences. Usually conditional sentences contain the word If
There are two types of conditionals:
The real (factual and habitual) and the unreal (contrary to fact or hypothetical). * The real or "future possible" as it is sometimes called, is used when the speaker expresses an action or situation which usually occurs, or will occur if the circumstances in the main clause are met.
, Hypothetical situation:
If I'm not planning anything for this evening, when someone asks me if I want to go to the movies, I say:
If I have the time, I will go. (I will go unless I don't have time)
( "I have the time" is true, then "I will go" is true)
If my headache disappears, we can play tennis. (I will play tennis unless I have a headache.)* The unreal condition expresses a situation (past, present, or future) that would take place or would have taken place if the circumstances expressed were or had been different now or in the past. Hypothetical situation:
If I don't have time to go to the movies, but I actually want to go, I say:
If I have the time, I would go. (I know I don't have time, and therefore, I can't go to the movies.)
This sentence is contrary to fact because I can not go. (Câu này trái nược với thực tế bởi vì tôi ko thể đi)
If to day were Saturday, we could go to the beach. (Today is not Saturday, so we can't go to the beach.)
NOTE: The if clause can come first or last in the sentence with no change in meaning.
If we didn't have to study, we could go out tonight. Chú ý cách để dấu phẩy trong câu
We could go out tonight if we didn't have to study.Chú ý ko có dấu phẩy trong câu
Both sentences mean : we can't go out tonight because we have to study.)NOTE: In the unreal condition, the past tense form of be is always
were in a conditional sentence; it never be
was in correct English.
Unreal conditional sentences are difficult for foreign students to understand because it seems that truth value of a sentence is the opposite of the way the sentence appears. If a verb in an unreal conditional sentence is negative, the meaning is actually positive; If a verb is positive, the meaning is actually negative.
If I were
rich, I would travel
around the world.
(I am not rich.) (I'm not going to travel around the world.)
If he were
sick, he would stay
(He's not sick.) (He's not going to stay home today.)But
If I hadn't been
in a hurry, I wouldn't have spilled
(I was in a hurry.) (I spilled the milk.)
If the firemen hadn't arrived
when they did, they couldn't have saved
(The firemen arrived on time.) (They saved the house.)
We would have left
yesterday if it hadn't snowed
(We didn't leave yesterday.) (It snowed.)
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