1

Quote from here: http://www.englishbaby.com

If I were you, I would call her. --------> Were I you, I would call her.

If I had known, I wouldn't have done it. ---------> Had I known, I wouldn't have done it.

--> In these cases, the result clause cannot come before the conditional clause.

(I wouldn't have done it had I known.)(x)

(I would call her were I you.)(x)

As you can see, the above website says that the result clause cannot come before the conditional clause when "if" is omitted.

But I have found many conditional clauses come after the result clauses even if "if" is omitted. And many others insist that it is grammatically correct even if the result clause comes before the conditional clause. In this case, what shall I do? What should I teach my students? I am an English teacher in Korea.

So let me ask:

  1. Is it impossible for the result clause to come before the conditional clause when "if" is omitted as the above website insists?

  2. Is it grammatically correct only when the result clause comes before the conditional clause when "if" is omitted contrary to what the above website insists?

  3. Are both grammatically correct whether the result clause comes before or after the conditional clause when "if" is omitted?

  4. Finally, if both are correct or the number 2 is correct, should I put a comma after the result clause or not? or both are correct whether with or without a comma?

0

Not impossible, but less likely.

Using the bare subjunctive "Were I you, I would call him" is more formal, and less common than the "If" forms. It is not ungrammatical to say "I would call him; were I you." But there is no reason to prefer it to the simpler "..., if I were you." (I put the semicolon since the clauses are less strongly linked. The second clause acts like a comment or an adjunct to the first.) It sounds heavy and as if someone is trying to impress, but getting it wrong. The punctuation is needed, and in spoken English the two clauses are clearly separated in by intonation patterns.

The second example "I wouldn't have done it, had I known" is quite grammatical, again the second clause acts as an adjunct. The "if" form would be more common and would be the pattern that I would prefer.

You should teach the "if" patterns first. For advanced learners you can also note the subjunctive form without "if". Don't teach the form with the "were I you" at the end. There is no reason for learners to use this form, but if a native speaker uses it there is no misunderstanding. There is no need to teach that the form with the subjunctive clause at the end is wrong.

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