Learning to love conditionals unconditionally

So once we get into the advanced realms of the English language we get into the ring with the more complex of its many quirks, namely the use of inversion as a replacement for our trusted friend ‘if’.  For most, inversion itself shouldn’t be a new contender.  However,  you may have previously only come into contact with it in negatives.  Here is a link to a fantastic website  to practise that specific area.

The issue with inversion in conditionals is that it doesn’t follow exactly the same rules. Why not? Because it’s English.

  • In first conditionals we can invert with ‘should’:

Should it rain later, you will need an umbrella= If it rains later, you will need an umbrella. (Note when using ‘should’ the ‘s’ is dropped from ‘rain’)

  • In second conditionals we can invert with ‘was’/’were’:

Were unicorns real, the world would be a little more fabulous = If unicorns were real, the world would be a little bit more fabulous.

Were cockroaches to become extinct, no one would mind = If cockroaches became extinct, no one would mind. (Note we use were + subject + infinitive)

  • In third conditionals we can invert with the auxiliary ‘had’:

Had Mr Darcy been less surly, Elizabeth Bennett would have fallen in love with him earlier = If Mr Darcy had been less surly, Elizabeth Bennett would have fallen in love with him earlier.

 

 

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