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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mixed Conditionals

Mixed Conditionals

Conditionals are if-statements. One condition in the statement relies on the other condition in the statement. For example, if we go to the pizza joint, we can all sit together. Conditionals may be used to make statements about real or imagined events: If aliens ring my doorbell, I'm not answering.

There are four types of conditionals (don't worry, I haven't forgotten that today I'm supposed to discuss mixed conditionals):
     Zero Conditionals - If statements that are always true. If I fall through the frozen pond, I will get cold.
     First Conditionals - If statements about things that are likely to happen. One future event is dependent on another future event. If I take voice lessons, I will try out for the next American Idol.
     Second Conditionals - If statements that are unlikely in the future or impossible in the present. If I audition for American Idol, I'll get to be friends with Steven Tyler. If I had a beautiful singing voice, he would want to meet me.,
     Third Conditionals - If statements that are impossible in the past.It is a statement about what we imagine could have happened. If I had been one of the contestants, I would have been his best friend.

Okay, take a deep breathe. Here comes the mixed conditional. Stay with me, here.

There are two types of mixed conditionals:
     Third Second Mixed Conditionals - If statements about imaginary present conditions or if statements about situations that are not possible because conditions were not met in the past. If I had taken the high road, we would be in a different position.
     Second Third Mixed Conditionals - If statements that avoid illogically saying "If I had been you," which implies I wasn't you on that occasion but could be you in the future, which you and I both know is impossible. If I were you, I would blot my lipstick.

Conditionals are CRAZY! I'm exhausted. Now that I've been through all of that, I conclude that proper use of mixed conditionals is the least of a writer's worries. Let's not get hung up on them.

Tomorrow: Negatives

This post is brought to you by the April A to Z Blog Challenge. Check back all through April for daily discussions of writing conventions.


A.D. Duling said...

Hi Lucy, what a very informative topic, clever! I just had to add your blog to my A.D.'s FAV 5 of the A to Z challenge today!

Guilie said...

Yep, conditionals stump many many people, and it's so common to see them misused. Prime example: "if I would have been you, I would have..." I see this so often and, being a grammar snob (I was an English teacher for a decade), it makes my skin crawl :) Thanks for helping to educate us all!

Stephsco said...

Great info! I admit I'm not sure if I ever learned this in English class.

Stopping by for the A to Z challenge!

William Kendall said...

Mixed conditionals kind of sound like lawyer logic, at least to me!