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I think there are two ways to use can to suggest doing something in a type 1 conditional

A. can+preferable result after the completion of conditions in if-clauses

Example 1: You can stop the war if you work with us. (Preferable result: can+stop the war, Action suggested doing: work with us)

B. can+actions suggested doing

Example 2: You can ask him for more information if he comes to the party. (Action suggested doing: can+ask him)

Is my analysis correct on usage A and B?

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  • can is indeed idiomatic in both of your example sentences. can means "to have the ability, opportunity, means, etc". If you win the lottery, you can buy a Rolls Royce. If you join our organization, you can make the world a better place. You can meet her if you come to the party. You can run faster and jump higher if you wear these athletic shoes. But it is not always a desired result: You can get ill if you eat nothing but chocolate candy.
    – TimR
    Mar 21 at 11:37
  • In the last example, with the chocolate candy, we should understand "you can" as "it is possible for you to ..."
    – TimR
    Mar 21 at 11:44

1 Answer 1

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Type 1 conditional means a possible condition and its probable result.

Both of your examples fit this definition. They both say if you do one thing, this is the expected outcome. They certainly aren't zero or second conditionals, which are used for general truths and unlikely or unreal situations respectively.

The first example doesn't sound so great for other reasons, though. A group of people ("us") are telling an individual that if he works with them, he can stop the war. Wouldn't they be stopping it together? Isn't this an offer of help? Logically, I'd expect it to say instead:

  • If you work with us, we can stop the war.
  • We can work with you to help stop the war.
  • Together, we can stop the war.

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