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I've been told that the following examples of conditional sentences are wrong because the tenses don't match the structure of any of the four types: zero, first, second, or third. I'm very confused because I think they are acceptable, and I would like some other opinions. Here they are. I've included the preceding sentences for context and put the problem words in bold.

Person A: 'He was absolutely furious earlier.'

Person B: 'Do you think he's still angry?'

Person A: 'Oh, yeah. If he was that angry this morning, he will no doubt still be angry now.'

And there's also this exchange:

Person A: 'Do you know where Michael is?

Person B: 'He messaged me to tell me he was leaving the restaurant. That was half an hour ago.'

Person A: 'Come on. We should go. If he left the restaurant half an hour ago, he will be home any second.'

I've also thought of a few more instances where I think the tenses don't adhere to any of the four types.

'If you bought a car fitted with a faulty device between 2003 and 2009, you can make a compensation claim with our law firm.'

'If you loved her last book, you will love her new one.'

My questions are: Are these conditional sentences acceptable? And, if so, what type of conditional are these examples? Is there a proper term for them? I think it's right that they don't fit into any of the four types, but I'm not sure if that means they're wrong.

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  • I suggest that you post basic questions of this type on SE English Language Learners, whether or not English is your native language. We deal with specific defined linguistic problems, rather than being a source of instruction on the use of tenses.
    – David
    Mar 19, 2023 at 19:30
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    File this under "numbered conditionals are a concept invented by ESL teachers to confuse people."
    – alphabet
    Mar 19, 2023 at 19:45
  • @David OK, thank you. Will do.
    – JJ_Douglas
    Mar 19, 2023 at 20:11
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    I'm afraid you have been calamitously misled. See here for something serious and here for something silly.
    – tchrist
    Mar 19, 2023 at 23:58

1 Answer 1

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  • (1) Oh, yeah. If he was that angry this morning, he will no doubt still be angry now.'
  • (2) If he left the restaurant half an hour ago, he will be home any second.'
  • (3) If you bought a car fitted with a faulty device between 2003 and 2009, you can make a compensation claim with our law firm.
  • (4) If you loved her last book, you will love her new one.

Each of these four sentences is grammatically valid. If it is correct that each of them fails to match any of the "numbered conditional form" options, that only proves that those options do not cover the full range of valid conditional forms in English.

Those numbers were devised, as I understand it, as a teachign aid to cover the m ore common conditional forms. They were not claimed to cover the full range of conditionals in English, which is good because they don't cover the full range.

That a conditional sentence does not fit one of the forms is not evidence that it is invalid, only that it is outside those forms.

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