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English Grammar in Use – Unit 38: If I do / If I did

English conditional sentences

English – English Grammar in Use

English Conditional Sentences – English Grammar in Use

Part A:

Compare these examples:
(1) Lisa: we go by bus or by train?
Jess: we go by bus, it will be cheaper.
For Jess, it is possible that they will go by bus, so she says:
If we go by bus, it will be …

(2) Lisa and Jess decide to go by train.
If we go by bus, it will be cheaper.
Later, Jess talks to Joe. If we went by bus, it would be cheaper.
JOE: How are you going to travel?
JESS: We’re going by train. If we went by bus, it would be cheaper, but the train is quicker.
Now Jess knows they are not going to travel by bus, so she says:
If we went by bus, it would be .. . (not If we go … )

When we imagine something that will not happen, or we don’t expect that it will happen, we use if+ past (if we went I if there was I if you found etc.).
But the meaning is not past:
What would you do if you won a lot of money? (we don’t really expect this to happen)
If there was (or were) an election tomorrow, who would you vote for?
Compare if I find and if I found:
I think I left my watch at your house. If you find it, If 1 won a lot of money … can you call me?
but If you found a wallet in the street, what would you do with it?

Part B:

We do not normally use would in the if-part of the sentence:
I’d be very scared if somebody pointed a gun at me. (not if somebody would point)
If we went by bus, it would be cheaper. (not If we would go)
But you can use if … would when you ask somebody to do something:
(from a forma/letter) I would be grateful if you would Let me know your decision as soon as possible.

Part C:

In the other part of the sentence (not the if-part) we use would (‘d) I wouldn’t:
What would you do if you were bitten by a snake?
I’m not going to bed yet. I’m not tired. If I went to bed now, I wouldn’t sleep.
Would you mind if I used your phone?
and are also possible:
If I won a lot of money, I might buy a house. (= it is possible that I would buy a house)
If it stopped raining, we could go out. (=we would be able to go out)

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