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Grammar 31 - Conditionals - Hypothetical
"If he does not diet he will become fatter." - This is a hypothetical conditional sentence.

Grammar 31 - Conditionals - Hypothetical

Conditionals in English make the language supremely inventive and creative. In the previous High English quiz on grammar we looked at probable conditionals where the likelihood of something happening was conditional on something being achieved or happening. That is to say, that an event or action follows another event or is dependent on another event or action. In this quiz we look at another aspect of conditionals where an outcome is unreal or hypothetical.

If you were a connoisseur of cars but didn’t have money to buy your favourite car and suddenly you win Rs 1 Crore in Kaun Banega Crorepathi programme, what would you do with the money? In all probability you would answer as follows:

‘If I won Rs 1 Crore, I would buy the latest Audi Coupe’

Here we note that we are talking about a hypothetical situation or perhaps an unreal situation. Whenever we face such situations the rules of grammar require us to write or speak in a particular way. The basic form of the hypothetical conditional is ‘if + past tense would + bare infinitive.’ In this construction, the clause with ‘if’ is known as the ‘if’ clause and the other clause with the bare infinitive is the main clause. Variations of this form are possible and include replacement of ‘would’ in the main clause with a modal such as 'might' or 'could'. We note that each of these has connotations in terms of certain result if ‘would’ is used, a possible result if ‘might’ is used and showing ability if ‘could’ is used.

Another variation is the absence of ‘if’ in the clause when ‘were’ is used. For instance:

‘If I got an invitation, I’d attend the wedding.’ This sentence could be replaced with:
‘Were I to get an invitation, I’d attend the wedding.’

Yet another variation is the use of continuous conditional form in place of the simple conditional form. Learn more about hypothetical or unreal conditionals by taking the High English grammar quiz that follows.

1.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
If you studying hard, you would getting good grades.
If you studied hard, you would getting good grades.
If you studied hard, you would get good grades.
If you studying hard, you would get good grades.
The hypothetical conditional sentence uses the form ‘if + past tense would + bare infinitive’. Note we use the version with the comma because the sentence starts with the subordinate clause. Note also, the choice of the modal is 'would' signifying a certain result. The sentences in the other options are grammatically wrong
2.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
If you attending nets regularly, you could get selected.
If you attended nets regularly, you could get selected.
If you attended nets regularly, you could getting selected.
If you attending nets regularly, you could getting selected.
The hypothetical conditional sentence uses the form ‘if + past tense would + bare infinitive’. Note we use the version with the comma because the sentence starts with the subordinate clause. Note also, the choice of the modal is 'could' signifying ability. The sentences in the other options are grammatically wrong
3.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
If he do not go on a diet, he would become fatter.
If he did not go on a diet, he would become fatter.
If he doing not go on a diet, he would become fatter.
If he did not going on a diet, he would become fatter.
The hypothetical conditional sentence uses the form ‘if + past tense would + bare infinitive’. The sentences in the other options are grammatically wrong
4.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
If I were the Managing Director of the company, I would sack all the corrupt employees.
If I were the Managing Director of the company, I might sack all the corrupt employees.
Were I the Managing Director of the company, I could sack all the corrupt employees.
All of the above are correct.
Remember, in hypothetical conditionals we use the modals also. Note that when 'were' is used we can dispense with the 'if' word
5.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
If you working hard, you might get promoted.
If you worked hard, you might getting promoted.
If you worked hard, you might get promoted.
If you working hard, you might getting promoted.
The hypothetical conditional sentence uses the form ‘if + past tense would + bare infinitive’. Note we use the version with the comma because the sentence starts with the subordinate clause. Note also, the choice of the modal is 'might' signifying a possible result. The sentences in the other options are grammatically wrong
6.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
I visit Amsterdam if I get money for the air ticket from my father.
I would visit Amsterdam if I getting money for the air ticket from my father.
I would visit Amsterdam if I got money for the air ticket from my father.
I would visiting Amsterdam if I get money for the air ticket from my father.
The hypothetical conditional sentence uses the form ‘if + past tense would + bare infinitive’. Note we use the version without the comma because the sentence starts with the main clause. The sentences in the other options are grammatically wrong
7.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
If we were in Chennai, we might be attending the test match.
Were we in Chennai, we might be attending the test match.
We might be attending the test match if we were in Chennai.
All of the above are correct.
Remember, in hypothetical conditionals we can also use conditional continuous (might be attending) form instead of the simple conditional form. Note, in hypothetical conditionals we use the modals also. Also, when 'were' is used (option 2) we could dispense with the 'if' word. Secondly, when the main clause comes at the beginning of the sentence (option 3) we don't use the comma
8.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
If the Karnataka Government changed the law, the party would losing the next election.
If the Karnataka Government change the law, the party would lose the next election.
If the Karnataka Government changing the law, the party would lose the next election.
If the Karnataka Government changed the law, the party would lose the next election.
The hypothetical conditional sentence uses the form ‘if + past tense would + bare infinitive’. Note we use the version with the comma because the sentence starts with the subordinate clause. The sentences in the other options are grammatically wrong
9.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
If Shyam lost the gift given to him by his wife, he would feel very bad.
Shyam would feel very bad if he lost the gift given to him by his wife.
If Shyam losing the gift given to him by his wife, he would feel very bad.
Both options 1 and 2 are correct but option 3 is wrong.
Both the sentences in options 1 and 2 use the form ‘if + past tense would + bare infinitive’ and so are hypothetical conditional sentences. Note that in option 1 the sentence is in the normal form with a comma. In option 2 the sentence is in the form where a comma is not used as the sentence begins with the main clause. The sentence in option 3 does not use the hypothetical conditional form
10.
Choose from the following options the sentence that is a hypothetical conditional sentence.
If Joseph was bitten by a dog, he would get an injection.
If Joseph is to be bitten by a dog, he is to be given an injection.
If Joseph is to be bitten by a dog, he would have to be given an injection.
If Joseph would be bitten by a dog, he is to be given an injection.
The hypothetical conditional sentence uses the form ‘if + past tense would + bare infinitive’. The sentences in the other options don't use the hypothetical conditional form
Author:  V T Narendra

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