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The staircase was so narrow, I wondered how I would get past should I meet someone coming down?

I like to know what "should" means in this sentence. And what grammar is that?

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    If you check a dictionary for "should", you'll find multiple meanings. It can be used as a modal verb, as in your example.
    – Astralbee
    Apr 22, 2021 at 8:33

1 Answer 1

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"Should" may be used instead of "if" in conditional clauses expressing hypothetical situations.

Using it, you might be suggesting that something is unlikely or not particularly probable:

If no one answers, please call back tomorrow.

Should no one answer, please call back tomorrow.

If I pass the test, I will graduate.

Should I pass the test, I will graduate.

Note that In the sentence

The staircase was so narrow that I wondered how I would get past should I meet someone coming down.

"meet" is the bare infinitive, whereas with "if", the sequence of times would require to use it in the past:

The staircase was so narrow that I wondered how I would get past if I met someone coming down.

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  • Thank you for the elaborate answer.Really helpful ! Now I got it, SHOULD works as IF here.
    – Quan Lee
    Apr 22, 2021 at 11:44

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