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Questions about the subjunctive mood ツ(Part 3)

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,

I'd appreciate it if you would help me.

Would you check the following sentences?

Question 1
1) If he should pass the examination, I would [/will] give you a million dollars.
                                        
2) If it should rain tomorrow, the festival would [/will] be postponed. (postpone =延期する)
                                        
3) What would you do if war were to break out? (break out =急に起きる、勃発する)
                                        
4) If the sun were to rise in the west, I would not change my mind. (mind =気持ち、決心)
                                        
5) If Bill should call me, tell him he can come at any time. (at any time =いつでも)
                                        
6) If you were to move a bit, we could all sit down there. (a bit =少し)

7) Were I drunk now, I would not be able to read this.
                                        
8) Had the war ended one month earlier, how many lives would have been saved?
                                        
9) Should anything happen to him, call me at once. (at once =すぐに)
                                        
10) Were I you, I would not lend him any money.
                                        
11) Were I to take over my father's company, I would make every effort to rebuild it.
(take over~=~を引き継ぐ rebuild =再建する)
                                        
12) Had I known Mike were in my town, I would have gone to meet him.
                                        
13) Should I fail, I would try it again. (fail =失敗する)
                                        
14) Had she done her best, she might have won the championship.
(do one's best =最善[ベスト]を尽くす win the championship =優勝する)
                                        

If you understand Japanese, would you check my translations? If not,
would you check the English part?

Question 2

1) もし万一私の両親がここへ来たら、(彼らに)私はここにいないと言って。(問1⑤参照)[should]
If my parents should come here, tell them (that) I'm not here.
                                        
2) 今度の木曜日に万一雨が降ったら、私達は、体育館(gym)でバスケをします。[should]
If it should rain next [this] Thursday, we would [/will] play basketball in the gym.
                                        
3) もし万一彼の気持ちが変わったら、彼は明日またここに来るだろう。[should]
If he should change his mind, he would [/will] come here again tomorrow.
                                        
4) もし、あなたが明日死ぬとしたら、今日の夕食に(for dinner)何を食べますか。[were to]
If you were to die tomorrow, what would you eat for dinner this evening [/tonight]?
                                        
5) もし富士山が噴火(erupt)したら、あなたはどうしますか?[were to]
If Mt. Fuji were to erupt, what would you do?

6) 私があなただったら、彼と一緒には出かけないでしょう。(出かける= go out)
Were I you, I would not go out with him.
                                        
7) 私がそれ(that)を知っていたら、その国には行かなかったんだが。
Had I known that, I would not have gone to the country.
                                        
8) 万が一あなたのおじいさんに何か(anything)が起きたら、(彼の)医者を呼びなさい。
Should anything happen to your grandfather, call his doctor.
                                        
9) きのうお天気(fine)だったなら、運動会(the athletic meet)は行われたんだが。 (行う= hold)
Had it been fine yesterday, the athletic meet would have been held.
                                        
10)万が一、君が気持ちを変えたとしても、だれも君を責めないだろう。 (責める= blame)
Should you change your mind, nobody [/no one] would blame you.


If some of the sentences are strange or awkward, would you give me
better example sentences instead? Would this type of "should" and
"were to" not commonly used?

Thanks in advance.:)

Hirashin
 

eeky

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Hi, you asked me to comment. Many of these can be said in various ways. I have not attempted to exhaust every possibility (would be too much). The editor keeps randomly changing and messing up my line spacing.

1) "If he should pass the examination, I would give you a million dollars."

Possible but rather formal. Reads a bit like an artificial textbook example. A more colloquial (and direct) version is "If he passes the examination, I'll give you a million dollars."

2) "If it should rain tomorrow, the festival would [/will] be postponed."

As (1)
                                        
3) "What would you do if war were to break out?"

OK. You can also say "What would you do if war broke out?".
                                        
4) Seems to benefit from addition of "Even":

"Even if the sun were to rise in the west, I would not change my mind."

5) "If Bill should call me, tell him he can come at any time."

OK. You can also say "If Bill calls me ...". Colloquially this might be more common, though to me personally they seem virtually interchangeable.

                                        
6) "If you were to move a bit, we could all sit down there."

OK.

7) "Were I drunk now, I would not be able to read this."

Not very natural. You would say "If I was/were drunk now ..." ("were" is more formal).
                                        
8) Had the war ended one month earlier, how many lives would have been saved?

More formal than "If the war had ended ..."
                              
9) "Should anything happen to him, call me at once."

OK. More colloquial is "If anything happens to him ..."

10) "Were I you, I would not lend him any money."

Not natural. Use "If I were you ..." (more or less a set expression).


I'll look at the others later when I get a chance...
 

hirashin

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Thank you for your ongoing help. I really appreciate it.

Our students who want to enter a prestigious college have to study formal English because college entrance examinations often include such formal English.

Hirashin
 

eeky

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A few more...

11) Were I to take over my father's company, I would make every effort to rebuild it.

OK. More formal than "If I were to take over ...".

                                        
12) Had I known Mike were in my town, I would have gone to meet him.

"Had I known ..." is more formal than "If I had known ...". "were" sounds a bit stilted to me here. I would say "was".

                                        
13) Should I fail, I would try it again.

Seems slightly artificial. More colloquially: "If I fail, I will try it again".

                                        
14) Had she done her best, she might have won the championship.

More formal than "If she had ..."
                                        
 

eeky

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1) "If he should pass the examination, I would give you a million dollars."

Possible but rather formal. Reads a bit like an artificial textbook example. A more colloquial (and direct) version is "If he passes the examination, I'll give you a million dollars."
Sorry, I forgot to mention for this pattern the intermediate:

"If he should pass the examination, I will (I'll) give you a million dollars."

For me, this feels less formal (or stilted) than the original, and not yet so colloquial as the "If he passes .... " version.
 

eeky

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Our students who want to enter a prestigious college have to study formal English because college entrance examinations often include such formal English.
I guess the problem is exacerbated when formal or literary language is used in sentences about everyday conversational topics. For example, in reality no one would ever say a sentence like "If it should rain next Thursday, we would play basketball in the gym." It feels like something from a hundred-year-old textbook (if they had basketball and gyms in those days!) Of the patterns encountered here, the "If ... should ... would" pattern probably seems the most stilted, at least to me. Some of the others that I have marked as formal-sounding are not so bad.

1) もし万一私の両親がここへ来たら、(彼らに)私はここにいないと言って。(問1⑤参照)[should]
If my parents should come here, tell them (that) I'm not here.

The repetition of "here" is faintly awkward. I would delete the first instance. More colloquial (and direct) is "If my parents come, ...".

I'm not sure exactly how unlikely 万一 feels. The English sentence expresses a plausible or at worst small chance rather than a very remote one. If you want to emphasise the unlikeliness you would have to use more words, such as "In the (very) unlikely event that my parents come ..."

                                        
2) 今度の木曜日に万一雨が降ったら、私達は、体育館(gym)でバスケをします。[should]
If it should rain next [this] Thursday, we would [/will] play basketball in the gym.

As discussed earlier. Also, "on Thursday" is very common.

                                        
3) もし万一彼の気持ちが変わったら、彼は明日またここに来るだろう。[should]
If he should change his mind, he would [/will] come here again tomorrow.

As earlier.

                                        
4) もし、あなたが明日死ぬとしたら、今日の夕食に(for dinner)何を食べますか。[were to]
If you were to die tomorrow, what would you eat for dinner this evening [/tonight]?

Doesn't really make sense because you don't know that you are going to die. It would make more sense to say "If you knew you were going to die tomorrow ..."

                                        
5) もし富士山が噴火(erupt)したら、あなたはどうしますか?[were to]
If Mt. Fuji were to erupt, what would you do?

More colloquial: "If Mt. Fuji erupted ..."


6) 私があなただったら、彼と一緒には出かけないでしょう。(出かける= go out)
Were I you, I would not go out with him.

As before, "Were I you" is not idiomatic. Use the set phrase "If I were you".

                                        
7) 私がそれ(that)を知っていたら、その国には行かなかったんだが。
Had I known that, I would not have gone to the country.

OK; more formal than "If I'd known that ...".

                                        
8) 万が一あなたのおじいさんに何か(anything)が起きたら、(彼の)医者を呼びなさい。
Should anything happen to your grandfather, call his doctor.

OK. "If anything happens ..." is a more conversational form. Again, I'm not sure how unlikely 万が一 feels.

                                        
9) きのうお天気(fine)だったなら、運動会(the athletic meet)は行われたんだが。 (行う= hold)
Had it been fine yesterday, the athletic meet would have been held.

More formal than "If it had been ...".

                                        
10)万が一、君が気持ちを変えたとしても、だれも君を責めないだろう。 (責める= blame)
Should you change your mind, nobody [/no one] would blame you.

More formal than "If you change your mind, nobody / no one will blame you".
 

hirashin

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Thank you so much for your great help, eeky. I really appreciate it.

I hate it when I have to teach what I'm not sure about.

By the way, I need some more good example sentences including
"were to". Would you give me some?

How about these?

a) If you were to be born again, what would you like to be?
b) If you were to win the lottery, what would you do?
c) If global warming were to continue at this rate, most areas on the earth would be unpleasant to live in 100 years.
d) If we were to keep hating and killing each other, the human race would be annihilated some day.

Hirashin
 

eeky

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"were to" seems to work well when a decision needs to be made. For example, "If we were to agree to your demands, would you release the hostage?" or "If I were to accept this job, we would have to move to London". I cannot think of any case with "if ..." where it is mandatory to use "were to" rather than the simple present or "past" (unreal) tense (which are typically more colloquial and direct).

a) If you were to be born again, what would you like to be?

Possible I suppose.

b) If you were to win the lottery, what would you do?

OK. As before (you get the idea now!), "If you won the lottery, ..." is more colloquial.

c) If global warming were to continue at this rate, most areas on the earth would be unpleasant to live in 100 years.

"would be unpleasant to live in 100 years" isn't right. You would have to say "would be unpleasant to live in in 100 years" ("live in" + "in 100 years"), but it is awkward.

d) If we were to keep hating and killing each other, the human race would be annihilated some day.

Not great, in my opinion. Perhaps "were to" seems too hypothetical for the continuation of something that is already occurring (as implied by "keep"). "If we keep hating and killing each other, the human race will be annihilated some day" seems better.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help, eeky. You are of great help.
 

Albatrosspro

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For some reason I kind of enjoy having a go at this. I see you've already had lots of help, but just for some more advice:
1. Actually "will" is correct here. The "should" construction is confusing to some and not so common in modern English, but in this case it is really part of a simple if + present, future pattern. "If he should pass" is a slightly more doubtful (hence the subjunctive) form of "if he passes". So to follow it up, you just need the future tense. "If he should pass the examination, I will give you a million dollars." Possible event --> Consequence.
2. For the same reason, "will" again.
3. Great
4. Fine, you can also emphasize the absurdity and impossibility by adding "even": "Even if the sun were to rise in the west... (!)"
5. Great
6. Fine
7. Good, if a little funny
8. Great
9. Great
10. Great
11. Great
12. Ah, this one is tricky. (Maybe extra points!) The thing is, the subjunctive raises doubt in this context-- maybe Mike is in town, maybe he isn't. But we can tell from the sentence that Mike really was in town-- the problem is that you didn't know about it and therefore didn't see him. So, it should be, "Had I known Mike was in town, I would have gone to meet him." The uncertainty part of the conditional is already contained in the "had I", so you don't need to say "were", and in fact it sounds very odd. Here's where you could use both "had I" and "were": "Had I asked if he were in town, I would have been able to meet him." In this case, "had I" creates the conditional (since this is something that didn't actually occur but might have occurred), and "were" expresses the uncertainty as part of asking. Even this is not totally straightforward, since you could also say "was" here with a somewhat different connotation and arguments on both sides... even in formal English it's not a settled matter. One final idiomatic point is that it's best to leave off "my". "In town, out of town" are expressions that imply the town from the speaker's point of view. "I'm going to be out of town," not, "I'm going to be out of my town."
13. Better "will", like the first example.
14. Good
Sorry, my Japanese is not (yet) ready for the rest.
 
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