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I heard in an australian tv show a lady says:

If my mother was alive today, she turn in a grave to see the way i am treated.

So the question here is shouldn't she had said: she might have turned in a grave.

Or they both make the same sense?

I know the statement has contradiction in it. May be it is meant to be as it looks like the lady is mentally upset. I just want to know that should she have used turn or might have turned?

Here is the link: ->https://soundcloud.com/sukhjinder-singh-626913618/neighbours-003

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  • I'd say that the entire sentence is wrong. Firstly, it should be "were" and not "was". Secondly, "she would have turned in her grave had she seen the way I am treated". And probably she'd be doing that constantly. Aug 27 '18 at 11:09
  • It looks to me as well but they are native english speaker and they are using this in daily life. That's why I wanted to know from a native. Have you listened to the audio I have linked in this post. Aug 27 '18 at 11:12
  • Yeah, she says, "If my mother was alive today, she'd turn in her grave to see the way I am treated". Well, "was" is possible and although it is incorrect grammatically it is okay in spoken English. Aug 27 '18 at 11:16
  • If she were alive today, why would she be in her grave? Aug 27 '18 at 11:31
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The lady actually says,:

'If my mother was alive today, she'd turn in her grave to see the way I'm treated.'

In this case 'she'd' is a shortened version of 'she would'. 'He/she would turn in his/her grave..' is a common English expression meaning that a deceased person (usually a parent or close relative) would be extremely upset if they were still alive and knew what was happening to you. The expression was most commonly used from about 1900 to 1950. It is still used today, but not as frequently.

Technically, the error in this sentence is that the speaker should have said,:

'If my mother were alive today, she'd turn in her grave to see the way I'm treated.'

This is a second conditional construction voiced in the subjunctive mood. It is not uncommon for English speakers to ignore this mood , especially in informal speech.

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  • Why not "would have turned"? Aug 27 '18 at 14:52
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    @SovereignSun I suppose because, if she were alive today, she would be turning in her grave in the present tense, as strange as that sounds. Besides, the sentence is in the second conditional, so the main clause should be placed in the present or future tense not the past conditional. However, it may be possible to say this as a mixed second/third conditional, (i.e. 'If my mother were alive today, she would have turned in her grave to see the way I've being treated.'). However, I have never heard this expression voiced in that way, and it sounds kind of odd to me.
    – James
    Aug 28 '18 at 9:38

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