IF + pronouns + "verb-to-be"

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"IF" she/he/i...... is it we must put WERE instead of IS /AM / WAS for such question?

asked Jul 04 '12 at 15:45 FiO New member

Sanjay gives only a partial answer, which is true for only one type of conditional. There are several other types, and the verb tense used depends upon which type of conditional is intended.

Jeff PribylJul 04 '12 at 16:28

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2 answers


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Sanjay is only partly correct.

 

There are three types of conditional sentences, and the verb tense used varies. Conditional sentences are used to express that the action in the main clause (the clause without "if") can only take place if a certain condition (in the clause with "if") is fulfilled

 

A Type I conditional (sometimes called a present real) occurs when the condition is possible and also very likely that the condition will be fulfilled. In this case, the if clause uses the simple present tense -- such as "is" , "am", or "are" for "to be" verbs -- and the main clause uses the simple future tense. If she is your sister, you will help her.

 

 A Type II conditional occurs when the condition is possible, but it is very unlikely that the condition will be fulfilled. In this case, the if clause uses the simple past tense -- "was" or "were" in the question -- and the main clause uses the conditional present tense (would + infinitive verb). If she was your sister, you would help her. But she's not, and so you won't.

 

A Type III conditional occurs when the condition is impossible that the condition will be fulfilled because it refers to the past. In this case, the if clause uses the past perfect tense and the main clause uses the conditional past tense (would + have + infinitive past tense verb). If I had known she was my sister, I would have helped her. But you didn't know, and so you didn't help her.

 

There are variations on these three types, and some grammarians group them differently, into real and unreal -- past, present, and future. No matter how grouped, the pairing of verb tense in the if clause with the verb tense in the main clause tells us something about the meaning of the conditional sentence.

link comment answered Jul 04 '12 at 16:24 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow
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Yes, it is "were" in case of conditionals.

 

If you were the prime minister of India, what would you do for the country?

If  she were your sister, would you help her in solving the problem?

If he were a pain in the neck, would you like to be his friend?

link answered Jul 04 '12 at 15:53 sanjay Expert

does it mean the only answer accepted is WERE?

FiOJul 04 '12 at 15:57

Yes.

sanjayJul 04 '12 at 16:02

No. See my answer below.

Jeff PribylJul 04 '12 at 16:25

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