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There are 5 types of conditionals, and I haven't found any with continuous tense in 'if' clause.

Suppose there is a long radio show. Eventually the presenter says something like 'the secret code is 555'. Listeners may call to the office, tell that '555' code and win some prize.

I can say something like:

  • If he listens to the show, he may win a prize.
  • If he had listened to the show, he could have won a prize.

But how should I say about the process (of listening) itself instead of the fact? I mean, the duration of the show may be an hour, but presenter tells the code on 5th (10th, 21st etc) minute. So, you should not listen whole show to win a prize - only 5 minutes (10, 21 ...) from the beginning is enough. I believe the examples above imply that the person should listen the whole show.

Could you please suggest? Thanks.

  • You can use continuous tense in the "if" clause, but it doesn't mean what you want it to. But that's not a problem, because the examples you give don't indicate whether the person listens to the whole show or not. – Peter Shor Dec 25 '16 at 22:46
  • I think it's not quite clear what you're asking. I don't understand "But how should I say about the process (of listening) itself instead of the fact?" – Silenus Dec 25 '16 at 22:48
  • @Silenus, will "non-finished process" clarify it? – Mr Q. Dec 25 '16 at 22:52
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    Is this what you’re looking for? “If only he had been listening to the show during one of those times when the secret code was announced, he would have been able to have won a prize.” – tchrist Dec 25 '16 at 22:56
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    There are far more than 5 sorts of conditional constructions; the so-called '0, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, mixed' which teachers use to introduce learners to conditionals only scratch the surface. – StoneyB on hiatus Dec 26 '16 at 1:08
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I think you are asking how to say that the person would only have to listen for the first five minutes to have won.

This could be said as: "If he had been listening to the radio show when they were announcing the code, then he could have won a prize."

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You need a when or while to do that.

If he listens when | while they announce the code, he may win a prize.

Since listening will be an activity done over a stretch of time, expressing that with a continuous construction will be a bit better.

If he is listening while they announce the code, he may win a prize.

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