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I've come across these two sentences, and I was wondering what they really mean in this particular context :

The first phrase:

I was wondering if I was to work for you for free, could you teach me what you know. I'm the owner of a small business, also manage real-estate. I know my abilities can do more, just looking for that extra piece of information/skill set to get me where I'm going to be. Source

The second phrase:

If I was to travel with a 2 year old in the late spring/early summer, are there activities that are family friendly beyond the pool? Source

My thoughts:

The first phrase gives me the impression that in case of he(I in the phrase) worked for him for free, he should teach him(me in the phrase) what he know.

The second one gives me the feeling that he decided to travel in the late spring/early summer along with a 2 year old, and he doesn't know if there are any family activities over there.

Am I wrong ? (A yes or no answer would be more than enough for me).

  • Your first question asks whether, given a certain condition (working for free), someone would be willing to teach you. (The words should teach me imply obligation and don't fit here.) The second question also begins with a condition (if I travel....) and asks whether you would find suitable activities. There is no implication that you have already decided to travel. You are simply asking what activities you would encounter if you do decide. – Ronald Sole Feb 11 '18 at 18:45
  • @RonaldSole: Thank you so much, and I was wondering if these have something to do with "Be+Infinitive" construction ? – CryptoBird Feb 11 '18 at 18:49
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In your two examples, you are postulating a hypothetical situation:

if something happened, would/might something else also happen

In the first case, you are asking

in the case that you worked for free, would your employer teach you

@Ronaldsole is correct in saying that the way your situation is expressed there is no obligation ("should"), you might rephraase your question as

if I was to work for you for free, would you teach me what you know

In your second example

If I was to travel with a 2 year old in the late spring/early summer, are there activities ...

could be rephrased as

If I brought a 2 year old ..., are there activities ...

The construction is not necessarily restricted to "be + infinitive" construction, they could be restated as

By working for you for free, would you teach me what you know.
I'm bringing a two year old ..., are there activities...

  • You rock, that was very helpful, thanks a million. – CryptoBird Feb 23 '18 at 14:07

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