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I've been doing some exercises lately when one thing struck me:

Miss Baiocci would, I am sure, be a real asset to your organisation, knowing as she does a great deal about the way a company such as yours operates. [...] If it were not clear that she is determined to move away from this area, we would try everything we could to keep her here. Assuming we are to lose her, I would be happy to know that she was being taken on by a company with a reputation such as you enjoy.

The "are". It is in accordance with the answer. The thing is, I thought it should have been:

Assuming we were to lose her, I would be happy to know that she was being taken on by a company with a reputation such as you enjoy.

I thought it was obvious at first glance that this is the Type II Conditional.

Which version is correct and fits best in the context?

Thank you!

Grammar and Vocabulary for Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency by Richard Side and Guy Wellman

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  • Is this an isolated sentence, or is it within a larger context?
    – katatahito
    Jun 19, 2019 at 7:12
  • I suppose this one sentence pertains to the problem and is enough to demonstrate my point. However, if necessary, then I'll post the full passage, which is really long. Jun 19, 2019 at 7:16
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    I guess my concern is that either could be right depending on how certain the speaker is that the "her" is going to be hired by another company. Basically without context I feel like I am making an uninformed judgement call on if this is probable or just hypothetical
    – katatahito
    Jun 19, 2019 at 7:18
  • I added some more sentences. It does seem probable, given what the writer was driving at. Jun 19, 2019 at 7:27

2 Answers 2

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I believe this is actually an example of a Type I Conditional (a possible condition and not a hypothetical condition). Your context confirms that indeed it is very likely the "her" will leave her current job and go to the other company.

This sentence is not considering the hypothetical scenario that a coworker is leaving, but rather coming to a logical conclusion after already knowing that the "her" will almost definitely be leaving the company.

Therefore the present tense are is indeed appropriate.

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  • If so, are would, was appropriate? Jun 19, 2019 at 8:12
  • was is not appropriate because it would not agree with the plural we, but "Assuming we would lose her" could work here too.
    – katatahito
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:17
  • or do you mean the would and was that are already in the sentence?
    – katatahito
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:17
  • Yes, those in the sentence Jun 19, 2019 at 8:18
  • That might be cause for another question
    – katatahito
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:20
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The key to cracking the problem is to treat "I'd be happy/glad/pleased to V" not as any kind of conditional or counterfactual sentence, but simply as a present simple sentence. Then it makes perfect sense to match it with "assuming that we are to . . ."

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