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Please explain the meaning of the following sentences if they are talking about the future:

Message as written on a card that is store in a wallet :

If you find this wallet, please return it to this address ...

If you found this wallet, please return it to this address ...

Also the difference between the 2 sentences below:

I would not be surprised if it was found that sleep deprivation was the root cause to many of today's society's trending diseases.

I will not be surprised if it is found that sleep deprivation is the root cause to many of today's society's trending diseases.

  • 1
    It would depend on precise context. Usually, your third example (if it was found that...) would just be a "modern/casual" alternative to subjunctive/potential future if [at some future time] it were to be found that... But it might feasibly be referring to the results of some past study where it just so happens the speaker didn't actually know for sure what "was found". – FumbleFingers Nov 17 '13 at 5:15
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1) I would not be surprised if it was found that sleep deprivation was the root cause to many of today's society's trending diseases.

2) I will not be surprised if it is found that sleep deprivation is the root cause to many of today's society's trending diseases.

When you use an if-clause in the past tense, you can describe something that does not happen. In the case of the sentence 1), in real, it is not found that sleep deprivation is the root cause. Or you could also describe hypothetical situations using if in the past tense.

The sentence 2) describes the future. Nobody knows the statement in the if-clause will be real.

  • I will add that 2) carries a greater degree of certainty. This doesn't mean that it is likely to happen, or even that the speaker thinks it is likely, but "will" here suggests something that is more likely than with "would". For example, if the speaker is thinking about studies that are investigating sleep deprivation, then it is likely that there will be a finding, so the speaker uses "will" for one particular finding. In the first, the idea of the studies is imaginary or hypothetical - the speaker is not talking about real studies that will really have a finding - so they use "would". – nxx Jan 22 '14 at 15:00

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