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Thread: Subjunctive mood.

  1. #1
    Почтенный гражданин oldboy's Avatar
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    Subjunctive mood.

    In compound sentences with if-clothes, in which the verbs have subjunctive mood, the tenses are usually the same: Simple or Perfect in both the main clause and subordinate.

    If it wasn't so expensive, we would open many more safari parks around the country. Simple
    It's possible it will be cheaper and then we will open any more.
    If it had not been so expensive, we would have opened many more safari parks around the country. Perfect
    It was so expensive, so we didn't open any more.

    But what mixed conditionals are used for? What is difference between the following examples?
    If it wasn't so expensive, we would have opened many more safari parks around the country. Simple and Perfect
    If it had not been so expensive, we would open many more safari parks around the country. Perfect and Simple
    Thanks for correcting me.

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    Subjunctive: If it weren't so expensive

  3. #3
    zxc
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldboy View Post
    But what mixed conditionals are used for? What is difference between the following examples?
    If it wasn't so expensive, we would have opened many more safari parks around the country. Simple and Perfect
    If it had not been so expensive, we would open many more safari parks around the country. Perfect and Simple
    I think you have the verbs in the second clauses mixed up.

    That is, rather than
    If it wasn't so expensive, we would have opened many more safari parks around the country.
    I would say
    If it wasn't so expensive, we would open a lot more safari parks around the country.

    And instead of
    If it had not been so expensive, we would open many more safari parks around the country.
    I would say
    If it had not been so expensive, we would have opened a lot more safari parks around the country.

    (Note: 'many more' in this context doesn't sound right, although it may be technically correct. I suggest 'a lot more'.)

    What's the difference?
    If it wasn't so expensive, we would open a lot more safari parks around the country.
    This is talking about the present (or near future). If it wasn't so expensive right now, we would open more parks now (or soon).

    If it had not been so expensive, we would have opened a lot more safari parks around the country.
    This is talking about the past. We had plans in the past to build more parks, but it was too expensive, so we didn't, and we don't have plans to build more now.

  4. #4
    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    You shouldn't think of the grammatical verb forms involved as tenses. It's the same as in Russian when you say, as the title of another thread suggests, "Я русский бы выучил...". While the verb form by itself looks like past tense, you are not necessarily talking about the past here. It's a typical feature of many Indo-European languages that they express the idea of "subjunctive", of something to be decided, something not real, something wished for, by shifting the verb back in its tense.

    You get three different standard types of if-clauses:

    1. If it is not so expensive, we will open a shop.
    This type is for a decision to be made. The speaker has not decided yet, he needs to know how much opening a shop will cost before he does so.

    2. If it wasn't / weren't so expensive, we would open a shop. In this case the fact is "it is expensive" (now, present tense), and therefore the decision not to open the shop already stands.
    You could argue for a variant "if it wasn't / weren't so expensive, we would have opened a shop" in order to express that it was, is and will be expensive in general, and therefore you never opened a shop at any time in the past.

    3. If it hadn't been so expensive, we would have opened a shop. This is the more typical way to express the previous thought, back when the decision whether to open a shop had to be made, it was too expensive to do so, so it was decided not to open a shop. This sentence leaves it open whether opening a shop is still expensive now.
    I suppose here you could argue that you have the option to say "If it hadn't been so expensive (back when we opened the first shop), we would open another shop now (but it's out of the question because we cannot afford that)".
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

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    Почтенный гражданин oldboy's Avatar
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    Feels like I understood.
    Thanks, bitpicker.

    P.S.:
    "Я русский бы выучил..."
    Я бы выучил/выучил бы русский if I needed it. (not Я русский бы выучил)
    Я бы сделал/сделал бы это, если бы мог. (not Я это бы сделал)
    I would do it if I could.

    P.P.S: I took those examples out of "Grammar for CAE and Proficiency":

    Thanks for correcting me.

  6. #6
    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    I quoted the name of the thread as given. I'm too much of a chicken to create my own Russian examples. :P

    All examples as given on that page which you posted are correct, but the parts you modified when you wrote your post are not. It mostly depends on the context, my examples gave some contexts in which one or the other deviation from the norm is possible. That's a good example for something you cannot put into rules conclusively. The rules give you the three main types of if-clauses which you can use, and some contexts allow for deviations; but you have to understand the way the formative rules and the context interact in order to get valid sentences.

    After a couple of years or decades of noticing such things in English (or actually any language) as it is being spoken or written you reach a point where you become able to form correct if not rules-conforming sentences. It is much better to notice sentences which deviate from the norm and try to develop a feeling for the deviation and why it is used, than to look for a rule to explain it.
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

  7. #7
    Старший оракул
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    Я русский бы выучил...

    There is nothing wrong with "я русский бы выучил", but "им разговаривал" isn't grammatical.
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
    Прямой путь не предлагать!

  8. #8
    Почтенный гражданин oldboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Полуношник View Post
    Я русский бы выучил...

    There is nothing wrong with "я русский бы выучил", but "им разговаривал" isn't grammatical.
    It's poetry! What I talked about was everyday language.
    Thanks for correcting me.

  9. #9
    Почтенный гражданин oldboy's Avatar
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    Will it be correct to say "If we had bought these shares last year, we would be billionaires next year."?
    Thanks for correcting me.

  10. #10
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    The subjunctive with "would be" applies to present certainties and your example is talking about a future speculation.
    If you didn't buy Yukos when it was cheap last year and now see that the price has risen you could say, "If I had bought Yukos last year I would be a billionaire by now." In your example, you're basically saying that the value of those shares which you didn't buy is currently not worth a billion but will be next year. In other words they will appreciate a certain amount. The problem is there's no way to know that. Stock prices don't automatically increase in value. They may very well but it's never certain. You could say, "If we had bought these shares last year, we could very well be billionaires next year."
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  11. #11
    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    I would say that Oldboy's sentence could be formed like that if for example the development of the shares now was strongly indicative of their soaring next year; affordable last year, no longer affordable but not in the billionaire range this year, but extremely likely to go through the roof next year. IT company shares can be like that . Grammatically the sentence is definitely valid.
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

  12. #12
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    You could say something like this: "At the rate these shares are going up, if we had bought them last year, we would be billionaires next year."
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  13. #13
    Почтенный гражданин oldboy's Avatar
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    Yes, of course, in real life/speech my sentence above would surround context... Maybe It's not the best example, but I simply wanted to know whether or not it's possible to mix the past and the future in such sentences.

    Thank you again!
    Thanks for correcting me.

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