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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > A doubt regarding conditional sentences    

A doubt regarding conditional sentences


A doubt regarding conditional sentences
Hello everybody!
I have a doubt concerning time reference in conditional sentences! The sentence states:
"If he were to have a chance of success, he would need to move to London."
Does it express an imaginary present situation or an imaginary future situation?
I look forward to your help! Thanks in advance!!

30 Jul 2009      


I would say present, because it would be future if the 2nd part went like this: ..he will need to move.

30 Jul 2009     


Hi, Male206

The sentence is conditional 2 that is it expresses an unreal present.

If + BE + TO + Verb is used when the action depends on some circumstances. We can say in this case:
If by chance he had the "opportunity" to succeed, he would need to move to London.
If "by (any) chance" he succeeded, he would need to move to London.
If he succeeded, he would need to move to London.
The guy does not have to move to London because he has no chance to succeed.

The "If" already infers the meaning "by chance or opportunity" =  Hypothetical situation

Maybe others have a different opinion.

30 Jul 2009     

United States

"Were to " can be used to describe hypothetical situations in the present, future, or past. Your sentences is not in past  because it doesn´t have the correct structure in order for it to be past. So, it can be either present, or future, because the structure is correct for both. So, in order to check the tense, you need to revise the meaning of the sentence... When you say "He would need to move to london", are you talking about a future possibility? is it possible that he move to London??? or are you talking about a present unreal situation???

30 Jul 2009     


The correct form of the verb "to be" after IF, IF ONLY... is always "were". That is because they are followed by the subjunctive form. Even so, when speaking or in informal English, "was" is accepted instead.

The example is stating a hypothesis.

30 Jul 2009     


Thanks a lot!! You`ve been really helpful!

30 Jul 2009