Skip to main content
36 votes

Why is, "If I don't use the microphone, nobody will hear me," not considered a double negative

In most forms of standard English, negatives don't agree with each other, each negative negates something separately. So: "If I use the microphone, somebody will hear me" can mean that ...
Dan Getz's user avatar
  • 4,439
19 votes

Confusing use of "if" in "Advanced Grammar in Use"

Good observation! There are actually a few uses of "if": The canonical case is that whether something happens or is true depends on a condition: "If it rains, you'll get wet." The ...
nschneid's user avatar
  • 5,157
18 votes

Why is, "If I don't use the microphone, nobody will hear me," not considered a double negative

The statement that one should not use a double negative is a caution against a particular dialect form well-known to native English speakers. It is something primary school teachers say to native ...
David42's user avatar
  • 2,850
12 votes

Confusing use of "if" in "Advanced Grammar in Use"

See my comment on What type of conditional clause is this?. Yes, often these "if" constructions omit and imply extra words, like "I'm going to open a bottle of lemonade, [and you can ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 15.6k
11 votes

Confusing use of "if" in "Advanced Grammar in Use"

Compare: She's not dating anyone at the moment, if you were wondering whether to ask her to the dance. She's not dating anyone at the moment, in case you were wondering whether to ask her to the ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 130k
8 votes

Confusing use of "if" in "Advanced Grammar in Use"

Some people take issue with this usage, since strictly speaking, the grammar is nonsense. The kind of logical link you'd expect between the two clauses just doesn't exist. Nevertheless, it's used and ...
the-baby-is-you's user avatar
6 votes

When you do your homework (tomorrow morning), you can listen to some music

I find your sentence 1 completely normal and unexceptional. As James points out, there is an ambiguity; and Gotube suggests you another meaning. But until I read their answers, I never even thought of ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 76.2k
5 votes
Accepted

Is using "could" in an "if" clause, like "If you could..." grammatical?

Could can either have a past meaning (=was able to) or a conditional meaning (=would be able to). For example, in the sentence "When I was younger I could run five miles", "could" ...
rjpond's user avatar
  • 23.1k
5 votes
Accepted

Prove that he didn’t/hadn’t

Which tense to use here is a style choice. The two versions technically have different meanings, but the difference is so trivial that it doesn't affect what someone would understand. If he had sued, ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
5 votes

When you do your homework (tomorrow morning), you can listen to some music

It's odd/bad English. Presumably the intent is either: While you are doing your homework, you can (=may) listen to music. or When you've done your homework, you can listen to music. And the aspect ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
5 votes

I am making some honest comments so that you might/would benefit from what I am saying. - difference in meaning?

Your first sentence is wrong. "Would" is used with the conditional: If I made honest comments you would benefit from what I was saying. The correct version of what you meant to say is: I ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
  • 4,732
4 votes

Is this a conditional sentence?

The premise is that Abby "practised so much as a child" That is in the past, as is shown by "child" so "if she hadn't" is used. If it was a premise about the present, "If she wasn't" would be used ...
David Siegel's user avatar
  • 41.3k
4 votes
Accepted

What type of conditionals does McGonagall use?

The concept of numbered or distinct types of conditional sentences is not one most native speakers learn, and in my view it is not very useful. Here the conditional is unreal in the sense that the ...
David Siegel's user avatar
  • 41.3k
4 votes
Accepted

Is "If it was, then I did" a real English conditional?

It is a perfectly good English conditional, and as far as I know it works in AmE, BrE, AuE. The way that conditionals actually work in English is much more complicated than is taught in ESL classes, ...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

"If I wasn't ... " vs "if I weren't ..."

This is one of those things where there is one thing that is technically correct, but there is a different thing that everyone actually says. Those are both conditionals (the second one being past ...
SegNerd's user avatar
  • 4,652
4 votes

Conditional sentence where both clauses are in the simple past

If John did not come to work yesterday, he was probably ill. This isn't any of the conditionals you mention. It is not an example of one statement depending on another; it is a statement of logic ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 106k
4 votes

Can you use "if" with present perfect, and is it zero conditional?

Yes, according to BusinessEnglish.com, "We can use any form of present tense in English in the conditional clause," including present perfect. If I have had my coffee, I think better. In ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 15.6k
4 votes
Accepted

Which conditional rule fits the sentence?

Two things. First, present perfect is a present tense. It makes reference to events in the past, but the meaning is always about the present. In this case, "His arm has grown long indeed" ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
4 votes
Accepted

When you do your homework (tomorrow morning), you can listen to some music

The meaning of this sentence is ambiguous because of the present simple. It could mean, "You never do any homework, and when you start doing homework, you'll have permission to listen to some ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
4 votes

if or after you are ready

Yet another bad exercise. To me as a native speaker, "We can go if you're ready" is perfectly idiomatic (it functions as a question "Are you ready yet? If so, we can go.") "We ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 57.3k
4 votes

Usage of "I wish… so that…"

The first one is perfectly fine, the second would be more natural as "...so that she could have called me". (The first sentence wishes she had the ability to call you now, so it makes sense ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 57.3k
4 votes

We went to a meeting yesterday. We would ask questions if we had any. - past real conditionals?

The first example doesn't work. Leaving out the object of "had" makes it read as "if we had [gone to the meeting]", but you've said that you went, so it doesn't make sense. ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 76.2k
4 votes

Confusing use of "if" in "Advanced Grammar in Use"

In your first example, the clause is non-restrictive and gets a comma. The actual meaning of the sentence is more like "I am going to open a bottle of lemonade, whether you want some or not. Do ...
Ronnie Childs's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

what is the Difference between using "could not" and "might not" in 3rd conditional sentences?

Yes, there is a difference If I had missed the train, we might not have met. If I had missed the train, it's possible that we might have met at a different time and place than we did because I ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 1,110
4 votes
Accepted

Why use "revived" instead of "revive" in "if your diet has lapsed it's time you revived it"?

This is just a normal pattern of English grammar. We can say It is time for you to [do something] but without the for, we always use the past tense. It is time [that] you [did something]. See this ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 57.3k
3 votes
Accepted

What is the tense of "wasn't interrupted"

Both these sentences are well-formed grammatically, but they are not used for the same thing: He wasn't thinking straight.FEATURES: past tense, continuous aspect He hadn't been thinking straight....
tchrist's user avatar
  • 8,305
3 votes

Referring to a habit int the past

The first is correct and natural, the second is not. A commenter says it is grammatical, but that is not true - it is in fact incorrect use and barely intelligible. The reason is because it mixes ...
BadZen's user avatar
  • 3,729
3 votes
Accepted

In the First Conditional, what is more important, cause or time?

Both sentences are possible, but they suggest somewhat different things. I finish my jog at 8, before the rain will start. (Note: I've corrected "my jogging" to "my jog". Alternatively, you could ...
ruakh's user avatar
  • 4,667
3 votes

Why does this second conditional statement use the passive voice when the clauses are swapped?

If you simply swap the clauses, you get: It would destroy it, if a tornado hit Rex's house. But of course we usually use pronouns such as it after the referent noun is stated (retrospective ...
Shoe's user avatar
  • 3,015

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible