1

This sentence was asked in an exam. They asked for substituting correct word in place of will in the following sentence,

"If he has time he will telephone."
(A) Would
(B) Could
(C) Might
(D) No error

What I think is that the question itself is wrong because the sentences a conditional and hypothetical sentence and as far as I know from my other post in these type of sentences we always use past form of has.

The question should be,

If he had time he will telephone.

Please explain am I right?

  • "If he has time he will telephone" is a correct sentence, because of its conditional formation. – s k pandey Mar 2 '17 at 13:53
1

That's kind of a misleading question because there are two correct answers.

The sentence as it stands is correct, so D) would be right.

However, if you replace will with might it is still correct:

If he has time, he might telephone.

Using "will" has a sense of certainty - you know for sure he will call if he has time. If you are less sure, "might" is the correct word to use - you are not sure if he will call, even if he does have time.

As for your suggested correction, that is not right. You are mixing past and future in the same sentence. "Had" is past-tense. The sentence would be:

If he had time he would have telephoned.

  • I didn't know that the question is wrong in having multiple correct options. – user31782 Aug 21 '15 at 19:39
1

If he has time, he will telephone.

There's nothing wrong with the sentence grammatically. It's conditional 1 sentence that refers to the possibility of an action or event in the future if the condition in the if-clause is fulfilled.

As for the hypothetical sentences in the present and the past, they are formed as follows:

If he had time, he would telephone.

If he had had time, he would have telephoned.

1

The sentence as it stands is fine, because both condition and outcome are in the future. It is a possible condition, not a hypothetical one. He may or may not have time. If he does have time, he will call. (I don't like telephone as a verb, personally).

Text in brackets is to clarify meaning, not part of the sentence:

If he has time (e.g. next week), he will call (at that time)

Corollary:

If he does not have time, he will not call.

If you switch to past tense, you can't use will:

If he had time, he would have called. (he does not have time, and therefore did not call)

If I had time, I would call (but I do not have time, so will not call).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.