John is learning to write a speech.But he has not to give any speech in near future.His teacher gave him an advice.

Which of the followings lines should be used as an advice by teacher, considering the fact that he has not to give any speech in near future?

  • A: If you use these phrases in speech,people will be impressed.

  • B:If you used these phrases in speech,people would be impressed.

  • @BavyanYaldo please use a more useful edit summary than "Correction"; an ideal summary gives a clear idea of what exactly is the purpose of the edit, so that suggestion reviewers and future users looking at revisions can both understand it easily. For examples, see my edits or Chenmunka's. Jan 5, 2018 at 3:20
  • Thank you for notifying me. Next time, I will make sure to do like you or as it supposed to be done. @NathanTuggy Jan 5, 2018 at 3:41
  • [to give advice; to give a piece of advice//] the speech in the future is completely irrelevant.
    – Lambie
    Nov 20, 2021 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


subjunctive mood (indicating a hypothetical state or a state contrary to reality, such as a wish, a desire, or an imaginary situation).

But here in your example you are talking about a possible proposition that could happen in the future. So you don’t need to use if in subjective mood, unless you’re talking about an imaginable matter that has never taken place in the past and can’t never take place in the future.

So the right tense according to your sentence goes like:

  • If you use these phrases in speech, people will be impressed. (First condition)

We use first condition when i want to talk about something could happen in the future:

I you pass Your exam , Your father will award you. [if something happens present tense, the second thing would follow future tense

  • If you used these phrases in speech, people would be impressed. (Second condition)

We used the second condition about something like . For example: if someone told you not to study for the exam, so you failed: Then i would come to tell you :

If you studied for the exam, you would pass the exam. ( here, i am talking about a condition that could happen in the past, but didn’t happen because you hadn’t studied for the exam.

But it differs from the subjunctive mood, as the subjunctive mood indicate to unreal “impossible thing to happen” it uses just for imagining.

Like: If I were a lion, I would not live here.

Look here, I can never ever be a lion, so it is just imagination. Can’t take place in reality.

  • If you had used these phrases in speech, people would have been impressed. (Third condition)
  • When should I use your first sentence and when should I use your second sentence?Giving speech is not hypothetical then why have you used subjunctive mood in your second sentence.
    – ashish7249
    Jan 4, 2018 at 13:51
  • No, I didn’t use the subjunctive mood in the second sentence. It’s the second condition of “if”. .......... if I used it in subjunctive mood, it would be like: > - If you were to use these phrases in speech, people would be impressed. @ashish7249 Jan 4, 2018 at 14:23
  • But second condition of "if" describes a hypothetical situation.I didn't get the meaning of "If you used...".Please help me with its precise meaning.
    – ashish7249
    Jan 4, 2018 at 14:29
  • I edited my question, i wish it could help you. @ashish7249 Jan 4, 2018 at 14:53

This is very simple:

A: If you use these phrases in speech, people will be impressed.

B: If you used these phrases in speech, people would be impressed.

A = Simple Present in first clause, Future with will in second clause.

B = Simple Past in first clause, Conditional in second clause.

For an ELL, the thing to grasp is this: A is less hypothetical than B. My advice, forget the term subjunctive here except for the case below.

When you use the verb to be in phrases like: If I were you, I would not go.", that is called subjunctive. It only applies to the verb to be and only to third person singular.

That said, it is still the simple past of the verb to be. Nowadays, If I were you/If I was you are both acceptable. The were is slightly more "telling". It tells the listener you know the difference, if he or she can recognize it. If you were sitting your PhD exams, you better had better know it. :)

  • Two confusions: 1.Which one of A and B should be used in different context? 2.Subjunctive only applies to third person singular.I didn't get it.
    – ashish7249
    Jan 4, 2018 at 16:22
  • If depends on what you want to say. One is less hypothetical. I suggest you translate them into your own language so you can feel the difference. Subjunctive only applies to third person singular in the B case: If he were rich [was becomes were but the meaning is the same!]; A case: If he is [present] rich, he will [future] decide what to do. Case B: If he were/was [simple past] rich, would decide [conditional] what to do. Case B: was or were does not change the meaning at all. Both are used but the verb in the second clause must be conditional.
    – Lambie
    Jan 4, 2018 at 16:46

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