40. If the fulfillment of the condition is considered less likely or less welcome than some other alternative, however," should" is used in the conditional clause. E.g., Should he refuse to do it, arrest him at once. Should the worst come to the worst, I can always leave the country. Should the crisis come, I shall be at my post.
41. When the fulfillment of the condition is considered rather unlikely, the condition is expressed by the preterit (q.v.) of any suitable verb ; and the result by means of " should," " would," " might," or " could ". E.g., If I drank wine with my lunch, / should be uncomfortable all afternoon. Provided / broke my journey in Paris, / could see Notre Dame. If she stood up to her husband, he would not bully her. He might be cured of his tuberculosis, on condition that he went to some place like Colorado.
42. Where the fulfillment of the condition is considered highly improbable, or impossible, the condition is expressed by means of the anomalous finite " were" in all three persons, followed by the infinitive with " to," or by a noun or pronoun complement. The result is expressed by " should," " would," " might," or " could " The use of "should" in the second and third persons strengthens the unreality of the supposition. E.g., Where should one finish, if one were to act in accordance with that criterion. If / were you, I should not do it. / could never forget it, were I to live to be a hundred. If he were to live in Paris, he might change his ideas about Frenchmen. / would help you, if / were able to. If / were rich, I could do a lot of things that I cannot do now.
43. When the fulfillment of the condition depends on chance, we express the condition by means of "should" with an infinitive, in all three persons. The result is expressed by an infinitive preceded by the past or present tense of any of the anomalous finites except" will" and " would" in the meaning of custom or obstinacy, and " used to." The imperative can also be used. E.g., If you should see John, you may as well humor him. If / should come into a fortune, / might go on a trip round the world. If you should find the book, send it along to my house. If you should happen to hear from him before tomorrow, you can telephone me. If you should hear any strange noise, you must telephone the police at once. If he should find himself in difficulties, he ought to be able to extricate himself easily. If you should be unable to finish the work in time, you had better ask Miss Smith to help you. If they should find the dog, they will let you know at once. If the lions should escape, they would be caught at once. If it should get dark before you arrive, you need not be afraid, as the roads are quite safe. I dare not think what / might do if he should get ill. / might do anything.
44. When the fulfillment of the condition depends on consent, " would" with an infinitive expresses the condition in all three persons (par. 21 (B)). The result is expressed by " should" " would," " might," or " could." E.g., / might understand you better, provided you would speak a little more slowly. / could not do it if / would. If he would show a little more good will. / would help him. If he would arrange the preliminaries, / could go on with the work alone.
45. Conditionals dependent on consent are often used incompletely in polite language.1 The result with " might" is also used alone, often indignantly. Could you send the parcel at once? I.e., Could you send the parcel now, if you would? You might get the letter written at once. I.e., You might write the letter now, if you would. You might at least be polite! You might wipe your feet before you come in! I had rather you did not go.
46. To indicate a past condition, which was not fulfilled, the condition is expressed by " had " or " could have " followed by a past participle; and the result is expressed by means of the perfect infinitive of any suitable verb, preceded by the past tense of any anomalous finite except "had better" "used to," and must (obligation). E.g., If / had told him that, he would have been angry. If the wireless operator had repaired his transmitter, the ship could have been saved. If you had received the order, you should have obeyed. If / had got your letter in time, / could have come. If he could have found a friend, he need not have starved. If he had been threatened with a pistol, he dare not have resisted. Had I known, I should have come. Could he have helped me, he would have done so. Had he lived, he was to have been Prime Minister.
463. The part of the sentence which expresses the condition can be introduced by one of the following conjunctions:
on condition that as long as provided providing
if if only suppose supposing
Ex.: Unless John stops playing the fool, he will not be a success in life. Supposing everybody behaved like- that, what would become of the world ? Aslong as he continues obstinate, one cannot, do anything about it. She could get better, provided she took a little nourishment.
466. The conjunction introducing the condition is often omitted when the fulfilment of the condition is unlikely (par. 41); highly improbable or impossible (par. 42); or unwelcome (par. 40). It can also be omitted in sentences expressing a condition depending on chance (par. 43); or a past condition that was not fulfilled (par. 46).
In all these cases, the condition is introduced by an anomalous finite, followed immediately by its subject. E.g., Should he refuse to pay, see your solicitor? Did I know, I might tell you. Were he to live in Paris, he might change his ideas. Should you see John, ask 'him to ring you up. Had I told him, he would have been angry. Had I got your letter; I could have arranged the matter. There might be some possibility of my helping you, did I have the money.
C. EXERCISES ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF CONDITIONAL SENTENCES.
(a) Change Prose Passage (i) so as to convey that fulfillment of the conditions expressed is rather unlikely.
(b) Change Prose Passage (2) so that the sentences express past conditions unfulfilled.
(c) Change the following sentences, so as to indicate that the fulfillment of the" conditions given is unwelcome.
E.g.: If people talk scandal in her presence, Mary tells them that they ought not to run down their friends and neighbors. If they take it badly and break off with her, Mary remains as cool as a