Friday, February 4, 2011

G2R - the second conditional

Alright everyone, here's our first post of Grammar2Remember. Let's brush up on our use of the second conditional. Proper use of the second conditional is really impressive.

A few things to keep in mind about the second conditional:
1. It talks about the present or the future.
2. It talks about an unreal possibility or option, which means what you're saying is not true at the moment.
3. We use the past tense in the if clause and a conditional modal (would, could, may, might) in the result clause.
4. Use only "were" for the verb "to be" in the if clause. (People often mess this up, and grammar textbooks are becoming flexible with using "was" as the informal alternative.)

like this:
1. If we had some extra time, we would stop by for a visit. 
(This means: We don't have any extra time, so we won't stop by for a visit.
2. If I were rich, I might buy a boat. 
(This means: I am not rich, so I won't buy a boat.)[Using might means I am less certain.]
3. If she knew how to cook, she would cook up a feast because she has a lot of free time. 
(This means: She doesn't know how to cook, so she won't cook up a feast.)
4. If he didn't like that place, he wouldn't go there every Sunday. 
(This means: He likes that place, so he goes there every Sunday.)
5. If she were coming to the party, we could celebrate her birthday then. 
(This means: She's not coming, so we can't.)

Alright, just to practice, say what you would do if you were somewhere else. (If I were at home, I would ...; or If I were at work, I could ...; If I were on vacation; I might ...; 

What about thinking of what or who you might know? (If I knew the President, I might ...; If I knew how to scuba dive, I would definitely ...)

Alright, everyone. Be bold. Write some sentences in the second conditional in the comments section below. Next up on G2R, I'll talk about more advanced structures using the second conditional.

Well, so far so good, I think. What about you? 

Joe Yu
the small guide 

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