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In the morning, person A says:

  1. if my leg were not injured, I would attend the party tonight.

  2. if I knew his home address, I could go to his house to meet him tonight.

  3. if I had enough money, I could buy a 20-room mansion.

Q) Do the condition clauses in (1), (2) and (3) necessarily refer to the present time (= in the morning), and not the future? I mean:

1a) if my leg were not injured right now, I would attend the party tonight.

2a) if I knew his home address right now, I could go to his house to meet him tonight.

3a) if I had enough money right now, I could buy a 20-room mansion.

NOTE: The person's leg was injured, they did not know the home address and they did not have sufficient money when they uttered sentences (1), (2) and (3) in the morning.

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The second and third sentences are not specific: they could mean now or any time.

The first is much more likely to be read as meaning right now, because the condition is not the normal one. A sentence starting If my leg were injured could relate to any time, but because one's leg being injured is an unusual circumstance, your sentence can't easily have that reading

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  • You mean the condition clauses in (2) and (3) could also refer to the future. Am I right?
    – Mr. X
    Apr 4 at 21:51
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    Now or any time includes the future.
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 4 at 21:59
  • Just one more question: Could this one refer to "now or anytime": If my mother were not ill, I would attend the party tonight? The condition seems to me to be normal here.
    – Mr. X
    Apr 5 at 17:14
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    @Mr.X, you're saying that being ill is the normal state for a mother???
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 5 at 17:18
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    In this case, the difference between would and could is whether you are saying that if the condition held, you would certainly do whatever it is, or that you would be able to (without committing yourself to say that that would be what you chose to do).
    – Colin Fine
    Apr 5 at 18:30

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