6

If there's a situation where I can speak either English or Arabic, I would choose English.

I know that I can break this sentence down to smaller and simpler sentences like "In some situations, I have the choice to speak English or Arabic. And I prefer speaking English" but I would like to use this long sentence that contains the conditional IF and the word either.

I think the rules are: "If(present), (future, will)" or "If (past), (would)". Now, I used present tense and then I feel it's better to use (would) instead of (will) but I don't know why?

  • What makes you think it might not be correct? – ColleenV Jul 1 '18 at 11:24
  • @ColleenV because I'm not that good in English and I'm not used to form long sentences. I think the rules is: If(present), (future, will). Or If (past), (would). Now, I used present tense and then I felt it's better to use (would) instead of (will) but Idk why? – user2824371 Jul 1 '18 at 11:28
  • 2
    I edited your question to include that information. If you don't explain a specific concern you have about your sentence, your question might get closed as "proof-reading", which is off-topic here. There is some good advice for writing questions in the Please, everyone… details post. – ColleenV Jul 1 '18 at 11:36
  • @ColleenV Thank you so much, BTW, I did not intent to ask a proof reading so I'm glad that I was able to form a long correct sentence. – user2824371 Jul 1 '18 at 11:39
9

What's correct is going to depend on the context. Here are some possibilities:

Hypothetical (it hasn't happened, but it might happen in the future)

  • If there were a situation where I could speak English or Arabic, I would choose English.

Habitual past (it has actually happened often in the past)

  • If there was a situation where I could speak English or Arabic, I chose English.

Habitual present (it actually happens often at present)

  • If there is a situation where I can speak either English or Arabic, I choose English.

Hypothetical future (it might happen in the future; a bit more likely than Hypothetical above)

  • If there should be a situation where I can speak either English or Arabic, I will choose English.

or

  • Should there be a situation where I can speak either English or Arabic, I will choose English.
  • 3
    These are the traditionally grammatical answers, but I'll also point out that colloquially a lot of these rules are relaxed in many dialects. In particular, the use of "should be" in the hypothetical future is (in my experience) much more likely to be in formal writing rather than informal speech — I find that the use of "should be" is often replaced with the simple present for approximately the same meaning, even if traditionally considered less grammatically correct. – Muzer Jul 1 '18 at 17:02
  • 1
    Perhaps, but consider that an English learner using these constructions in speech might be thought merely to be overly formal (though it's debatable), whereas an English learner using more colloquial forms in writing would simply be wrong. Better to learn the standard forms first. First one learns the rule; then one learns when and where to break it. – Kyralessa Jul 1 '18 at 19:15
  • I've never seen that first hypothetical future form ("If there should be...") actually used; I've only ever seen people say something of the form: "If there is a situation [that happens sometime in the future], I will [do something]." The other sentences seem right to me, though. – V2Blast Jul 1 '18 at 21:20
  • There could possibly also be a hypothetical "If there is", to refer to a situation that currently exists, but that the speaker hasn't gotten to yet (I'm not sure if that makes sense). – NotThatGuy Jul 2 '18 at 0:40
  • 1
    @V2Blast Oh, sorry about that; I didn't read very carefully. Between those two "hypothetical future" sentences I prefer the second anyhow. – Kyralessa Jul 2 '18 at 11:06
4

Your long sentence is correct

If there's a situation where I can speak either English or Arabic, I would choose English.

also

(future, future)
If there will be a situation where I can speak either English or Arabic, I will choose English.

(present, future)
If there is a situation where I can speak either English or Arabic, I will choose English.
(future, future)
If there is a situation where I can speak either English or Arabic, I would choose English.

(past, past)
If there was a situation where I can speak either English or Arabic, I would choose English.

  • 1
    I'm inclined to say "where I could speak" should go with "I would choose" (to refer a hypothetical) and "where I can speak" should go with "I choose" (to refer to a habitual present). It's "If I could, I would", not "If I can, I would". – NotThatGuy Jul 2 '18 at 0:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.