Bài 17: Câu điều kiện - phần 5 (Conditionals - part 5)

Conditionals, part 5


In this lesson, we’re going to talk about unreal conditionals in the past

I'd like to tell you a little bit about my past

So let's try this activity, I will show you different flag of different countries

When I show you the flag, you tell me the country

And then I’ll tell you something that happened to me or something that I did in that country

Ok, so let’s start. Here is the first flag

I think you know that this is the Japanese flag, the flag of Japan

Now, in college, I studied in Japan for two years

I have been to Japan once before but for very short time

After college, I wanted to go there and teach English

I applied to a program and then they rejected me

So I didn’t go

If I had lived in Japan, I would have learned more Japanese

So, let’s try the next one

This is the Russian flag, the flag of Russia

So I didn’t go to Japan

I went to Russia

I have been there three times before and the fourth times was when I finished my graduate work

If I hadn’t gone back to Russia, I wouldn’t have met my husband

So I’m glad I went back to Russia

Ok, let’s try third

Do you know this one? This is the flag of Belgium, the Belgium flag

I’m not the only one who married outside my culture

My friend married a Belgian

If my friend hadn’t married a Belgian, I wouldn’t have visited Brussels.

Here’s one more. Do you know this one?

This is the flag of Philippines, the Filipino flag.

My father's actually from the Philippines and I visited there when I was a little girl

And I met all my relatives but I didn’t speak Tagalog and that’s the shame because I couldn't speak much with my relatives

If I had learned Tagalog, I would have talked more with my relatives

If you’re listening closely, then you heard the verb tenses in the two clauses

Again, in “If” statements we have two parts: there is the “If” clause which states the condition and the result clause

In the “If” clause, I was using the past perfect

If I had lived in Japan, If I hadn’t gone to Russia, If my friend hadn’t married a Belgian, If I had learned Tagalog

“If” clause uses the past perfect in the unreal conditionals in the past

The result clause had “would have + the past participle"

We can also switch the clauses around and the meaning doesn’t change

We can also make either clause negative

It’s important to understand that the unreal conditionals in the past are untrue situations

They talk about the past that never happened

So, let’s back up two those examples that I originally presented

And talk about what is the truth and what is not the truth.

For example, let’s go back to Japan. I said if I had lived there, I would have learned more Japanese

Truth? I didn’t live there. Truth? I didn’t learn more Japanese

Ok, let’s try the other one, about Russia

If I hadn’t gone back to Russia, I wouldn’t have met my husband.

Truth, I did go back the Russia. Truth, I did meet my husband

And Belgium flag, remember,

I told you that if my friend hadn’t married a Belgian, I wouldn’t have visited Brussels

Truth my friend married a Belgian and truth I did visit Brussels

And the last one, I talked about the Philippines

And I said that if I had learned Tagalog, I would have talked more with my relatives.

Truth, I didn’t learn Tagalog. Truth, I didn’t talk much with my relatives.

So let’s continue our activity

I'll show you three more flags, this time when I tell you statement, I want you to tell me what the truth is

All right? This is the British flag, flag of England

If my childhood home had been Buckingham Palace, I would have had few friends but a lot of room to play

So, what’s the truth?

Did I live in Buckingham Palace as a child? No

Did I have few friends as a child? No

I’m happy to say I have plenty of friends

Ok, here’s next one

This is the flag of the Bahamas, the Bahamian flag

Immediately after college, I wanted a break from academics

So I worked in the Cruise Line Industry. I had seen an ad on a bulletin board.

I responded to the ad and I ended up on the Cruise Ship in the Bahamas and it was wonderful few months

I really enjoyed that time

If I hadn’d seen that ad, I wouldn’t have spent time in the Bahamas

So, what’s the truth?

Did I see an ad? Yes, I did

Did I spend time in the Bahamas? Yes, I did

So, here’s the third flag. This is the flag of Mexico, the Mexican flag

I took a trip to Mexico earlier this year

And I knew some basic words and phrases but I didn’t know any Spanish

If I had known Spanish, I would have had more conversations with Mexicans

So, what’s the truth?

When I took my trip to Mexico, did I know Spanish? No

And did I have lots of conversations with Mexicans? No

Ok, so I hope you understand now that when we’re using the unreal conditionals

We’re talking about the past that never happened

They are untrue statements

So let’s list the reasons why we use the unreal conditionals in the past

We might as I said we’re talking about an untrue situation and that's because we want to emphasize a connection between events

For example, at the Bahamas I said If I hadn’d seen that ad, I wouldn’t have spent time in the Bahamas

There is a connection I saw the ad, I got the job in Bahamas

We might also be using the unreal conditionals to talk about an unreal situation meaning an imaginary situation.

We'd like to dream a little and think about how things could have been

For example, about England I said If my childhood home had been Buckingham Palace

So, what I'm trying to do is imagine what my childhood could have been like if I had lived in Buckingham Palace

Ok, a third reason why we might use the unreal conditionals is to express a regret

For example, if I had known more Spanish, I would have had more conversations with Mexicans

That’s a regret of mine 

So, up to now we’ve talked about using only past perfect in the “If” clause

When can also make the “If” clause progressive

So let's share an example

Do you remember this flag? The flag of Russia

And I told you that if I hadn’t gone to Russia, I wouldn’t have met my husband

Here’s a detail about the day that we've met

It was raining and we had to walk from metro station to an office

So we shared umbrella and is was avery nice walk

If it hand’t been raining, we wouldn’t have shared a very pleasant walk under the same umbrella

That is the end of part one. Be sure to join me for the second half of this lesson on unreal conditionals in the past

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