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Thread: "if" matters

 
  1. #1
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    Default "if" matters

    Hello,
    I hope that somebody can help me. I do not quite understand the form "if+ Present Simple", like in:

    a. If we just go through these and then you can do the word search if you like
    b. If you work through those chapters
    c. If you turn over

    wouldn’t it be correct to say “if you would +Verb”?

    thank you

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    Default Re: "if" matters

    Here are some examples on the if clause, hope it helps.

    If Clause Type I
    if + Simple Present, will-Future


    Type I indicates what will happen, provided that a certain situation is given.

    Examples:

    If you send your order by fax, we will deliver the goods immediately.
    If you invite me for lunch, I will help you with your presentation.

    If Clause Type II
    if + Simple Past, would + infinitive


    Type II indicates what could happen if a present situation were different.

    Examples:

    If we had more employees, we would work more efficiently.
    If we delivered poor quality, we would not be the leading company in our business.

    If Clause Type III
    if + Past Perfect, would + have + past participle


    Type III indicates what could have happened in the past if a situation had been different then.

    Examples:

    If you had read the paper, you would have seen the advertisement.
    If I had taken the bus, I would have been late.


    http://www.ego4u.com/en/business-eng...onal-sentences

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    Default Re: "if" matters

    hi michelleba,

    thank you for reply,
    but actually I am not sure that in these sentences the types of the sentences you write about are meant, because they do not have the second part. These conditional fragments are used as if they were completed sentences.
    I thought that they were meant like an indirect request which is similar to the construction "If you' d like to move a little" with the meaning understood along the lines "Please move a little"and thus they may also have the meaning:

    a. let's go through these ...
    b. work through these chapters
    c. turn over

    What puzzles me is the lack of the "d" element there. Please tell me if I'm wrong.

    thank you

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    Default Re: "if" matters

    Forming a question with if at the beginning of the sentence is incorrect. Even when used colloquially, it reflects very poor grammar.

    The if clause is usually an if/then clause. Here are some additional uses of if:

    Mood. When the subjunctive expresses an action or state as doubtful, imagined, desired, conditional, or otherwise contrary to fact {if I were wealthy, I could travel}. But not every if takes a subjunctive verb: when the action or state might be true but the writer does not know, the indicative is called for {if I am right about this, please call}.

    Present subjunctive. If I (he, she, it) were {if I were king} { if she were any different}. That is, the present subjunctive ordinarily uses a past-tense verb to connote uncertainty or impossibility.

    Past subjunctive. The past subjunctive typically appears in the form of if I (he, she, it) {if I had gone} {if he had been there}.

    Correlative conjunctions. Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs, often to join successive clauses that depend on each other to form a complete thought. {if the first claim is true, then the second claim must be false}

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    Default Re: "if" matters

    Quote Originally Posted by michelleba
    Forming a question with if at the beginning of the sentence is incorrect. Even when used colloquially, it reflects very poor grammar.
    Why, thanks. I am aware that this is an incorrect/incomplete form, HOWEVER this is part of a recorded native speaker corpus, and YES, this was how the native teachers actually chose to phrase some requests/directives. So the question is - why did they use the present tense, and not the past tense (in this albeit incorrect form) as described above. Any ideas?

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    Default Re: "if" matters

    IF it is incorrect to begin a sentence with if then a lot of native speakers speak incorrectly. IF I were you I wouldn't pay any attention to that "rule". IF you try to speak without starting a sentence with if then you will find it awkward at times to say what you mean. If you disagree with me please feel free to tell me. If it rains tomorrow I might not be here. If I'm not here tomorrow I'll respond to your post when I return.

    Each of those sentences could be formed so that they don't begin with if but that is the way we speak.
    vicente

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    Default Re: "if" matters

    In discussing the "correct/incorrect" grammar we' ve completely forgotten the question i am actually interested in and posting this thread here.
    The question is: are the sentences (a.-c.) the same as (d.-e.) or is there any differrence in them:

    a. Now if you all want to pick one object from the tray.
    b. So if you start about page fifty nine.
    c. So [...] if you come up a little bit closer

    d. So if you'd like to correct the other's now.
    e. [...] if you would like to follow it with us […]

    As far as I can judge these incomplete fragments are used as indirect requests to perform some action
    So the question is: DO you see any difference in the INTENTION of the speaker? DO the sentences a-c sound LESS POLITE than those in d-c but still more polite than, for instance, pure imperative? Or is there any other FEELING you have when reading them?
    I'd be glad for any comment on this topic.

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    Default Re: "if" matters

    Sorry wannaknow, I didn't really understand your original question when I first read it.

    As for any differences in intent, politeness, feeling, etc., I see none. They all convey the same attitude to me. Any differences would have to be detected in the spoken phrase, in the voice inflection, rather than the way they are written, in my opinion.
    vicente

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    Default Re: "if" matters

    Hi vicente,

    thank you very much for the answer!
    With your help I finally moved further in my research. But perhaps you could answer one more question:

    How common is the use of these so-called conditional fragment? What do you hear more often a. or b.?

    a. Now if you all want to pick one object from the tray.
    b. Could you all pick one object from the tray?

    Would you say the a. form is the way people quite often speak when they do not want to sound impolite, meaning this form is as conventionalized as the b. form?
    I am aware that there are plenty of other forms, like " I wonder if..." or "Do you want to ..." or "How about ...". What I am interested in is: is this form just one of the possibilities or would you prefer it to other forms?

    I'd be very grateful for the answer

    P.S. I hope that after having paraphrased my question so often the point of it is clear:-)
    Last edited by wannaknow; 08-23-2009 at 08:53 AM.

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    Default Re: "if" matters

    I am very pleased I was able to help you.

    Your next question is a little harder to answer because the two fragments are so similar and, as you say, there are so many simple variations that politely convey the intent as a request rather than a directive, e.g., "let's all pick an object...; if we could all pick an object...; if each of you would get an object...; why not choose an object...; why don't we all grab an object...; let's each get an object from...; after we have all taken an object..., etc., etc".

    None of these forms, including your two examples, are "conventionalized" but they are all commonly used and the use of any of them would depend on the individual. Speaking spontaneously, I might use any one of the choices at any given time. They all politely say the same thing.

    So, in short, the two forms presented are equally common and acceptable if your intent is to be polite and non-demanding.
    vicente

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