Bài 16: Câu điều kiện - phần 4 (Conditionals - part 4)

Conditionals, part 4


It’s time to talk about unreal conditionals

So let’s start with a few examples

This is my passport

Unfortunately, there is only one stamp in it when I took the trip to Mexico earlier this year

My other passport has lots of stamps

Unfortunately, this one has one

If I had more time, I’d travel more

Here is a guitar. If I practiced every day, I could be really good

And if I had more money, I’d buy more clothes

What did you notice about all of these examples

If you listen closely, you've heard simple past in the IF-clause: “If I had more time”, “If I practiced more”, “If I had more money”

Even though I’m talking about the present time, I’m using the simple past

And by using the simple past in the IF-clause I’m creating an unreal condition

In the result clause, most often you’re going to have "would" plus the base verb. “I would travel more, I would be very good, I would buy more clothes”

And especially in conversation “would” is going to have contraction, not “I would “but “I’d”, not “You would” but “You’d” and so on

In the result clause, you might also have “could”. I believe in my original example, I said with the guitar, “If I practiced every day, I could be very good”

It suggests a result a little less certain, shows possibility

I can also use “might” in the result clause, again suggesting less certainty of that result

For example, if I had more time, I might spend all of it reading books

Let’s take a closer your look at these unreal conditionals in the present time

These statements show situations that are unreal, untrue, and impossible or unlikely

Remember, “If” statements have two parts, there is the “if” clause which states condition, and the main clause which states the result

You can’t have result without the condition

Now, the two clauses can be switched and it doesn’t change the meaning

The if clause can come first in the statement or can follow the result

Example, If I had more time, I’d travel. Or I’d travel if I had more time

Note, use a comma when the “if” clause comes first

If we’re speaking there’s just be a pause in place of the comma

As for verb tenses, even though we are speaking about the present time, we use the simple past in the “if” clause

Examples, if I had more time, if I practiced every day

Be careful using “be” in the condition

When you use a form of “be” to state a condition, you must use “were” for all persons

“If he were famous, if I were the president”

Now in very informal English, you will heard Americans use “was” if he was famous, If I was the president” but that's only the case in very informal English

You really should use “were” for all persons

As for verbs in the result clause, most often we use “would” plus the base verb

If I had more time, I would travel

I would buy more clothes if I had more money

Note the use of contractions in informal English either writing or speaking, we use “I’d, you’d, she’d” etc

In addition to “would”, there’s might plus the base verb

And it expresses an unlikely but possible result

For example, If I had more free time, I might spend all of it reading books

Or I might never take a bus or taxi again if I had my own car

“Could” plus the base verb expresses either a possible result or someone’s ability

Examples, If I practiced every day, I could be really good on the guitar

We could open a restaurant if we knew more about running a business

Ok, do you understand everything so far? Then I think you're ready for an exercise

Look at the statement on the screen and change the verb into the correct forms

The answer: If David had a better sense of humor, he’d have more luck with women

You can also say “he’d” using the contractions

Number 2, answer: Brian would get better grades in school if he studied harder

And note Americans say “grades” not “marks”. Teachers often use letter grades of A, B, C, D and F, with F being the worst

In this statement, use “could”

Answer: You could take a direct flight to Rome if you were willing to pay more money

Four, answer if school didn’t start so early, Michelle would sleep in

And in five use “might”. Answer: If we had the right tools, we might be able to fix the TV ourselves

In giving advices, we often use “if I were you”

For example, if I were you, I wouldn’t cut my hair

It looks good the way it is, Why change it?

Let’s try an exercise to practice giving advices

I’ll read the situation to you, and you think about what advice you give to the person in that situation

Situation one, your friend George wants to buy a sports car, but he really shouldn’t spend so much money

He already has lots of bills to pay

Your advice?

Possible answers are George, if I were you, I wouldn’t buy the sports car

Or George, if I were you, I would pay my bills first and then think about the sports car

Situation 2: Your classmate isn’t happy with the grade she received from your English teacher

She thinks her essay deserves more than a C

Your advice?

Possible answers are if I were you, I’d talk to the teacher

Or if I were you, I’d ask the teacher why she gave you a C

Now, not many textbooks talk about using progressive verbs in the conditionals

But you’ll see them sometimes

So let’s take a look at how they are used

In the if clause, a progressive verb is “were plus ING”

Example, The cat must be awake

If it were sleeping, its eyes would be closed

In the result clause, the progressive verb with look like this, “would be + -ing"

Example, if Kelly earned more money, she wouldn’t be sharing a one – room apartment with two other women

All right! that about  it for this lesson

I’m going to end  with one more example

This time about you

If you didn’t want to learn English, you wouldn’t be watching these lessons

Did you notice that in the result clause I use the progressive verb “you wouldn’t be watching these lessons”

“Would” plus “be” plus “ING”

You wouldn’t be watching these lessons if you didn’t want to learn English

I hope you will continue to learn English with me

Check back because there is at least one more lesson on conditionals

As I said, it’s very large topic but lesson by lesson, it will become clear to you

And remember if you have a question or request send it to me via email

My address is.EnglishWithJennifer@gmail.com Happy studies! 

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