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OzForex Foreign Exchange dealer Michael Judge said the dollar could go above US79¢ on Tuesday should the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate, which is currently at 2.25 per cent.

(http://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/currencies/australian-dollar-dips-in-anticipation-of-rba-rate-call-20150302-13ssqy.html#ixzz3TEcGUQv2)

can "should the Reserve Bank cut...." expressed as "if the Reserve Bank cut..."?

I have no idea what the sentence means to be?

  • 1
    u r right in yr guess. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 2 '15 at 13:58
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    Are you finding the word "should" confusing? – Ben Kovitz Mar 2 '15 at 18:13
  • It can almost be replaced. Simply replacing should with if would imply that the dollar would go up only if the bank cut the cash rate in the past, not if they were to cut it now. It can be re-worded as if the Reserve Bank were to cut the cash rate – Rob Apr 28 '16 at 0:21
  • If reserve bank should cut the cash rate, OzForex Exchange dealer...., adding should implies that the possibility of Reserve Bank cutting the cash rate is remote, that's very unlikely. But the sentence with if is considered too wordy, and people prefer to leave out if, resulting this sentence - should reserve bank cut the cash rate, OzForex Exchange dealer.... – Man_From_India Apr 28 '16 at 1:46
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"can "should the Reserve Bank cut...." be expressed as "if the Reserve Bank cut..."?"

Almost. "We don't have enough cans of beer should Jim visit us, who is known to be very thirsty." can be expressed as "We don't have enough cans of beer if Jim visits us, who is known to be very thirsty." Both mean almost exactly the same, but "should" is followed by a conditional and "if" is not. You could also say "We don't have enough cans of beer if Jim were to visit us, who is known to be very thirsty." Now for organisations like "Reserve Bank" there's the question if you should use plural or singular, which would be "cut" or "cuts"; American and British English could disagree.

There is a very slight difference in meaning. The "should" is more of a possibility that you prepare for. An umbrella is useful should it rain. Rain is a possibility that you might prepare for. An umbrella is not useful if you fall down the stairs and break your neck. Falling down the stairs and breaking your neck is not something you prepare for.

"Something very bad happens if you do something very stupid." I wouldn't use "should" because the "doing something very stupid" is not something I would expect yo to do.

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You can interchange 'should' and 'if', although tense is often an issue:

Should it rain...

If it rains...

You can also use the 2 together:

If I should go to town...

Also the usage becomes especially legal to avoid repetition. Earlier in the article the author writes:

If the cash rate was cut the dollar would fall about half a cent, he said.

so using 'should' in this case makes sense.

The sentence means that should the RBA cut it's base rate (the level of interest the Government will honour, the AUS$ becomes more attractive than the US$, and so will attract more interest, and hence it's price will go up.

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I see four main parts to this sentence:

  1. A declarative sentence: "OzForex Foreign Exchange dealer, Michael Judge, said..."

  2. Paraphrased quote, another declarative sentence: "the dollar could go above US79¢ on Tuesday..."

  3. A conditional clause: "should the Reserve Bank cut the cash rate"

  4. A subordinate clause: "which is currently at 2.25 per cent"

The first part has a simple subject and verb. Michael Judge said ... Parts two and three are what he said.
Part 2 will happen if part 3 happens.
The subordinate clause (part 4) cannot stand on its own, and just gives more detail.

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You may be able to replace should with if, but that is not the context of the passage from the original article that you sourced.

Before the author wrote those lines, he spoke to many other people who all stated that they expected the Reserve Bank to cut the rate. One actually stated that it was not a matter of if, but when. Their unanimous conclusion was a change in the value of the Australian dollar when this event occurred.

If you look at the verb definitions for should, you will find one that expresses a conditional mode (if). This is also like one of the verb definitions of should. However in both definitions the condition is specified in the sentence. For example:

"If it rains, you should take an umbrella with you."

Another definition of should indicates an event that is possible. Remember in the original article, all the people interviewed clearly expressed an expectation that the rate cut would happen and the consequences of that rate cut. So in this context, should can be replaced with when if the author's original intent is to be preserved in the standalone excerpt:

" OzForex Foreign Exchange dealer Michael Judge said the dollar could go above US79¢ on Tuesday when the Reserve Bank cuts the cash rate, which is currently at 2.25 per cent."

Therefore, although you could use if as a synonym in the excerpt, this will only denote a condition. However, if you want to denote the result of an expected event- as outlined by the author in the article- then you may want to use when as a replacement.

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  • As a note, the Reserve Bank didn't cut the rate but did state that it may do so next round. – Gary Mar 4 '15 at 9:26

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