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Use of conditionals

English translation: See comments below...

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:Use of conditionals
English translation:See comments below...
Entered by: Wilsonn Perez Reyes
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20:29 Mar 21, 2007
English to English translations [Non-PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics / Conditionals
English term or phrase: Use of conditionals
I would like to know the differences of the use of "were to have/had" in the following cases as well as the way such differences should be reflected in translation.

If you ***were to have*** a legal dispute, what would happen?

If you ***were to have*** walked into a health food store twenty years ago, about the only thing you would have probably found were protein powders, a few herbs, and some vitamins.

In contrast with:

If you ***had*** a legal dispute, what would happen?

If you ***had*** walked into a health food store twenty years ago, about the only thing you would have probably found were protein powders, a few herbs, and some vitamins.

Thanks.
Wilsonn Perez Reyes
El Salvador
Local time: 20:27
See comments below...
Explanation:
Your first two examples are rather formal in style, and have rather dropped out of use in current, everyday usage.

Your second alternatives would be more usual nowadays.

To my ears, the use of your first two versions implies an even more hypothetical nature to the supposition, but it would be a very slight nuance, and quite debatable. "were you to have..." kind of implies "but of course you didn't"

Do note the differnces between the use of have, as a verb in its own right in your first example, and as an auxiliary in the second.

In fact, I'm not so sure these are conditionals at all; aren't they in fact the subjunctive?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-03-21 22:03:41 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I think the first use of 'have' is misleading [#1 and #3) — it sounds a little odd to say 'have a legal dispute'.

"If you were to be involved in a legal dispute" resolves the question, since the other version (i.e. #3) wouldn't exist at all.
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 04:27
Grading comment
Many thanks.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +7See comments below...
Tony M


  

Answers


7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +7
use of conditionals
See comments below...


Explanation:
Your first two examples are rather formal in style, and have rather dropped out of use in current, everyday usage.

Your second alternatives would be more usual nowadays.

To my ears, the use of your first two versions implies an even more hypothetical nature to the supposition, but it would be a very slight nuance, and quite debatable. "were you to have..." kind of implies "but of course you didn't"

Do note the differnces between the use of have, as a verb in its own right in your first example, and as an auxiliary in the second.

In fact, I'm not so sure these are conditionals at all; aren't they in fact the subjunctive?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-03-21 22:03:41 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I think the first use of 'have' is misleading [#1 and #3) — it sounds a little odd to say 'have a legal dispute'.

"If you were to be involved in a legal dispute" resolves the question, since the other version (i.e. #3) wouldn't exist at all.

Tony M
France
Local time: 04:27
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 156
Grading comment
Many thanks.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Patricia Rosas: yes, those are subjunctives, and nearing extinction; I still use them, however, even in speech if I want to emphasis the hypothetical nature of the situation...Tony: Undoubtedly... but what's a subjunct?? ;-) saludos
26 mins
  -> Thanks, Patricia! (Yes, me too... are we closet subjuncts?)

agree  William [Bill] Gray: ... with you, Tony, and Patricia.
40 mins
  -> Thanks, Bill!

agree  Richard Benham: "If you had..." seems odd to me. Seems to suggest a concrete situation where someone had a choice, but chose differently. Good for recriminations: "If you had done your homework hours ago instead of playing that silly game maybe I would have let you...".
1 hr
  -> Thanks, RB! In #4, I think we'd more likely say "Had you..."

agree  Robert Fox: and I think it should say 'would have been protein powders' not 'were'
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Robert! Can't decide, personally! As it follows on from 'would have found', I think the indicative is probably OK here, but far from sure...

agree  ugrankar
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Seema!

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
8 hrs
  -> Thanks, Marju!

agree  kmtext
11 hrs
  -> Thanks, KMT!
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Changes made by editors
Mar 21, 2007 - Changes made by Tony M:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO


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