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"Break" has both a transitive and intransitive meaning. My computer broke while I was trying to write my paper is perfectly idiomatic and grammatical. We tend to use the verb transitively when the cause of the breakage is known. We tend to use the verb intransitively when the cause is unknown. It is, however, odd to use "break" with something as ...


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My understanding is that the phrase "If I am going to X" is best suited as a predecessor to some detail about the carrying out of X, rather than an effect of carrying out X. See these examples: If I am going to take a cab, the cab better arrive on time. If I am going to pass the exams, I am going to need to hit the books soon. When speaking of an ...


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All "if" statements are conditional, but there a few quite distinct contexts in which you might say something like "if they could". Many "if" statements are straightforward "if x is true, then y is true". For example: If it rains, we will get wet. However, consider this example: If kids were given scissors they could cut their own hair. Like the ...


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The "had broken" form may have a different meaning to the "had been broken." It depends on the rest of the story. What would have happened if the bridge had broken while we were crossing it? This means that the person is concerned for the possibility the bridge might have failed when he was on it. Maybe the story is about some rickety rope-and-plank ...


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