From my English classes I remember the rule that when you are expressing a condition with words like if, you must use the subjunctive mood in the subordinate clause, and the conditional in the main clause.
If I had more free time, I would go to the gym more often.
If I were you, I wouldn't pay too much attention to them.
The only exception to this rule (as far as I know) are polite requests like:
It would be nice if you would help me in the kitchen.
On the other hand, I recently found the following sentence in a book written by an American author:
If I would make a point of going to sit down with a historian, or a mathematician in order to broaden my mind, I'd be neglecting my job in a way.
In this case, both clauses are in the conditional but, according to the rules I have learnt in school, I would rather have written:
If I made a point of going to sit down with a historian ...
So I am a bit confused as to when one should use the subjunctive versus the conditional. Why does the author of the book write "If I would make a point of..."? Is there a difference in meaning or are "made" and "would make" interchangeable here?
(What confuses me even more is that I live in Germany where I often hear people using the conditional instead of the subjunctive when speaking in English, possibly because German has only the subjunctive / Konjunktiv mood: so it is difficult for me to tell if what I hear is a mistake or a proper use of the English conditional.)