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If you lay even a hand on him, you are dead.

That was telecasted in a naruto episode.I wondered it should be you would be dead. Can you explain me this.

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If you lay even a hand on him, you are dead.

This is correct. Lay is present realis with contingent future reference, and so is are. The statement is equivalent to

If you touch him you are dead.

You may be confused by lay, which has the same spelling as the past-tense form of lie. But lie is intransitive and cannot take an object like a hand; this lay has to be the present-tense form of lay.

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  • If you touch him you would be dead.Shouldn't this be? – Anubhav Singh Jul 23 '16 at 10:49
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    @AnubhavSingh No. In a conditional the condition and consequence clauses must have the same 'reality'. We say if If you touched him you would be dead but If you touch him you are or will be dead. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 23 '16 at 10:52
  • You will be dead is alright but are dead is something which had happened already.You touched him, so you are dead.You are dead because you touched him. – Anubhav Singh Jul 23 '16 at 10:55
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    @AnubhavSingh No. 1) are dead is not something which has happened already--it doesn't 'happen' at all, it is a state. 2) It is a state which will be the case if you touch him--are is a present-tense for with future reference. This might also be expressed as an event: If you touch him you die. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 23 '16 at 11:06

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