I'm doing an exercise and I have the following sentence under "would" unit:

In an ideal world, everybody (have) enough to eat.

It's obvious, that I should put would have have here but the question is can I use just has:

In an ideal world, everybody has enough to eat.

Are both options grammatically correct? If so, does 'has' in the sentence sound unnaturally in any way?


Can you use "has"? Absolutely. This changes it from a pure hypothetical to a definitive prediction of what you consider an essential characteristic of an "ideal world". It sounds much the same as an observation of something that is not hypothetical.


In Los Angeles, everyone has a car. (observation)
In future Los Angeles, everyone has a flying car. (prediction)

In France, many people eat croissants for breakfast (observation)
In an ideal France, everyone eats croissants for breakfast. (prediction)

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Both options are definitely grammatical.

The structure of the second sentence is the same as a more obviously correct sentence, such as: In France, everybody has red shoes.

So the question is not whether it's grammatically correct (it is) to say "In an ideal world, everybody has enough." The question is whether it's good style.

Matters of style are largely subjective. There's no one right answer. To me, the second sentence is fine. I would more likely say, "would have" since this is a hypothetical world, so when I say the sentence, I mean to imply: "If the world were an ideal world, everyone would have enough." You could also use "will have" if you're feeling optimistic. This would imply that in the future, we'll reach that ideal state.

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Both are fine as styles; it's almost down to preference. Using "has" is just a bit unnatural, the speaker asking the listener to oblige him a bit by imagining this supposed world and ascribing qualities to it. It can be a bit more forceful, especially as a retort to someone arguing for a different opinion of the ideal world. (Bob:"In an ideal world, prisons would rehabilitate criminals." Alice:"An ideal world has no criminals!")

If you are going to go into a long list of statements about the ideal world, you might want to stick with the "has" scheme so that you don't have so many "would"s to type or say, but you might sound a little like an unrealistic person, and if you are unsure about having the support of your audience, "would" is more tactful.

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