The question is "If you could be any age, what age would you be?"

The answer: (assuming I am teen)

"If I could be any age, I would be 20 because I can/could drive a car."

"If I could be any age, I would be 30 because I want/would want to see my baby."

Are both answers correct?

Does the conjunction "because" change the verb tense (after it) to present or does it remain future tense?

How does this conditional work?


1 Answer 1


In both cases you can use "could" or "would"

"...I would/could drive a car"

"...I would/could see my baby"

It's just the difference between saying "will" or "can" in the conditional tense, hence "could" makes more sense, because you are talking about something hypothetical. The conjunction "because" isn't affecting anything, it would be the same without it.

The below usages seem most natural to me:

"If I could X, then I could Y"

"If i could X, then I would be able to Y"

  • Just adding on to Tom B's correct answer, having only want in the second sentence would be incorrect. You must include the would before it because it's hypothetical: "I would want to see..."
    – user32753
    Dec 19, 2016 at 18:09
  • In other words, no present after because. Perhaps that should be spelled out to the OP.
    – Lambie
    Jan 7, 2018 at 15:25
  • 1
    @Lambie: no present after because??? That's one of the most misleading pieces of advice I've seen. Lennon and McCartney's grammar was perfectly fine when he wrote "Because the world is round, it turns me on ... Because the wind is high, it blows my mind ... Because the sky is blue, it makes me cry..." (Although you could argue about his logic :-) ) May 27, 2018 at 14:24
  • @PeterShor You cannot possibly think I mean in all cases? Because when I mean something in all cases, I would probably say it.
    – Lambie
    May 27, 2018 at 14:58

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