Ten minutes can be a very short while, to think about a nap. It would be very long, to think about a break in conversation. We can try with a friend, over the phone: we agree to remain silent for 10 or 20 seconds, and our friend does not look at a watch. On another occasion, our friend does the thing for us. Though we would have looked at our watch before, the time is most likely to feel longer.
Language learners vary in strategies. Some would take a longer time to put thoughts together, and allow for breaks in conversation. Some would remain a colloquial level of language, to avoid breaks. Some learners choose to practice, to be efficient with regard to time as well as style and correctness.
Exercise 63. We do not have to comprehend the word “if” as belonging with Form Relativity only. We can change “if” for “whether”, in contexts to tell about circumstances or results rather than provisions or causes. We have the “if” underlined, in the exercise.
We can use abbreviated auxiliaries, to practice spoken comprehension. We also can reorder the phrases as well as use Inversion, for style and flexibility.
Example: She did not know if she was right.
Answer: She did not know whether she was right.
Example: If he hadn’t been extremely busy, he would’ve remembered about the coffee.
Answer: Hadn’t he been extremely busy, he would’ve remembered about the coffee.
Alternately: Had he not been extremely busy, he would have remembered about the coffee.
1. If she weren’t reading the calligraphic, she’d be sleeping.
2. If he was writing, reading, or talking, the colloquium had him busy all the time.
3. If he hadn’t heard from Bill then, he’d be writing him a letter now.
4. If it weren’t such a good quality, she’d think it a mere prank.
5. If it sustains the quality throughout, it’ll compare with the Bodleian Horace.
6. They will / can see in the library, if they get the Medici print.
7. If it weren’t so conscientious, he’d throw it in that Babbitt’s garden next door.
8. If it proves necessary, she’ll have it carbon dated.
9. If it is as good as it looks, it might be of worth even as just a calligraphic.
10. If it hadn’t been deprived of the front matter, it would be easier to find out who made it.
Further journey brings the Causative and the Passive, our “have it carbon dated”, in example 8, and “had been deprived”, in example 10.
Exercise 64. We can use the word “if” also in the sense of the word “when”. Grammatically, it is up to our choosing, if we speak the premise or the result first.
Example: IF you provision in the condition, may stipulation precede in position.
Answer: May stipulation precede in position, WHEN you provision in the condition.
1. You’ll make your adage suit, IF you toot the root in the foot.
(We can look up word stress patterns in dictionaries, to emphasize them by matching).
2. IF the comma won’t curse or ban, a dot might bid the span.
3. IF the verb does not adjust, the pronoun must never entrust.
4. IF a Modal will emend, diction can commend a robust complement.
5. IF meanings collate and debate, may syntax negotiate.
Exercise 65. It is most often up to ourselves to decide, whether to mediate our language structures with Modals at all. The arrow cues show the target time extent.
Example: If there 1. (be) other Little Tinies, the Little Tiny 2. (can be) one of many similar beings.
Answer: If there were other Little Tinies, the Little Tiny could be one of many similar beings.
Alternate: If there are other Little Tinies, the Little Tiny is / can / could be one of many similar beings.
A. “If I 3. (be) only one of many Little Tinies, I 4. (be) actually a Little Tiny”, the Tiny hypothesized. She 5. (be) strictly an inch tall and she 6. (want) a measure for her dreams. “A cubit 7. (be) the length of your forearm right to the tip of your middle finger”, she 8. (reckon).
B. However, a cubit 9. (be) factually about 17.5 inches. “If you 10. (have to think) about an inch to think about a cubit”, she went on hypothesizing, “my cubit N 11. (can be) a cubit, as I am just an inch tall. Still, I 12. (have) my length”.
C. She 13. (visualize) a cube. “If you really 14. (need to consider) measures, you 15. (figure) on a cube of a dream”, she made another hypothesis. Nothing was positively two-dimensional. “Even if you 16. (reason) on your forearm simply, you 17. (will make) it out for three-dimensional”, she 18. (speculate).
D. “If nothing 19. (be) truly two-dimensional, dreams 20. (be) non-two-dimensional, too. You 21. (can have) a cube of a dream, if you 22. (want) to tell whether your dreams are big or small?” She 23. (start) to entertain the theory.
E. “Then, if you 24. (agree) to a measure, you 25. (can add up) cubes with dreams like with anything else. Well, but a Thumbelina 26. (can have) a cube of a dream, if cubes 27. (be) cubits big, too?” The Tiny 28. (sigh) with uncertainty.
Exercise 66. Let us be back with the grain of sand. The word “if” is not the only word to help make hypotheses. Let us try the words “as” and “when”. They can work as conjunctions. “As” would agree with the premise. “When” would allow an opposite sense. We can know the study of meaning as semantics.
Example: “If I N 1. (be) a grain of sand, I 2. (be) more prone to be of a like mind with a westerly wind”, the grain of sand thought.
Answer: “If I were not a grain of sand, I would be more prone to be of a like mind with a westerly wind”, the grain of sand thought.
A. “If wits N 3. (be) a real thing, you 4. (can evade) the matter of their shape”, the grain of sand deliberated. The grain of sand did eight hours of thinking about composite things a day. As the eight hours N 5. (be) immaterial, the faculty the grain of sand employed during the time N 6. (can be) immaterial either, it concluded.
B. Obviously, the faculty you used to ponder on composite things 7. (have to be) the reasoning faculty. Wits, whatever their quality, 8. (have to be) of a shape, the grain of sand felt.
C. Therefore, it 9. (be) uncanny for a grain of sand and a wind to be of the same mind. “A thought 10. (can be) genuinely the same, when the wits 11. (be) not?” Possibly, asking the wind its opinion N 12. (can decide) on the issue, the grain of sand 13. (analyze).
D. Alternately, the phrase “the same thought” 14. (may become) just a way to speak about potentially very dissimilar things. Still, the phrase “the same thought” truly existed and had its real shape. “What 15. (happen), if you 16. (translate) it to another language?”
E. The grain of sand (wonder) for five minutes. The phrase sure (may change) in its look. Then, the term “shape” N (will be) as easy to comprehend. “The same thought (will render) the same shape of mind if you (give) it the look of another language?” The grain of sand immersed in thought for another five minutes.
Exercise 67. We can join Jim Colderstone in winter Alaska. Alaska has the largest population of bald eagles in the USA. We can mark Modality with the letter M. We do not have to use a Modal everywhere the letter M is. We can use more than one Modal where the letter M is, too. We are in the grammatical PRESENT. We include Expression.
The exercise is open-ended: no one can or may prescribe a natural language.
When Jim ran into the office (Chapter 6. The Present Perfect or the Past Simple), Jill was not there. She left him a letter, before going on her Paris vacation. We cannot demand insight into private correspondence. The exercise only renders the message, in a mystified way. With friends, we can try to guess what Jill might have written after a minor discord.
Example: You M N 1. (have) the ambition to be the colder stone if you M 2. (be) in the winter Alaska yourself.
Answer: You would not have the ambition to be the colder stone if you could be in the winter Alaska yourself.
A. It M 3. (be) enough that you 4. (go) EPIC terrestrial and you M 5. (see) that the temperatures 6. (favor) a Colderstone for the role.
(We can go epic.noaa.gov/epic, if we want to go EPIC terrestrial ourselves.)
B. Although you M N 6. (go) to Alaska to do STEM paperwork only, you M 7. (like) the ridges of new green and the cool breeze in a shiny spring Alaskan morning.
(We can go nsf.gov for STEM programs.)
C. Space and time M 8. (become) a source of perplexity if you 9. (think) about times outside the present. As for the talk, if you 10. (look) to word form alone, you M 11. (resolve) there are too many forms with too little sense.
D. Humans M N (be) logic strictly. And temperature, for the senses to come together well, M N 12. (be) the source for all feeling.
E. If they N 13. (have) a place in a human discourse, words M N 14. (tell) anything exact. The place yet 15. (be) only hypothetical. This 16. (be) the human person to make language possible.
Let us take our story generally to A PAST time extent.
Naturally, you would not have the ambition to be the colder stone, if you could be in winter Alaska yourself.
Alternate: Naturally, you would not have had the ambition to be the colder stone, if you could have been in the winter Alaska yourself.
The alternate can “anchor” our discourse in a specific time span and geographical place. The time-anchored alternate would say, “there, then, that time, that winter: THE Alaska”.
FROM THE KEY: Grammar resources vary so vastly in guidance on Modal verbs and the Conditional or Unreal Past that we may feel we need a comparison on language forms. When we work out own, independent perspectives, we become able to use our language logic consistently. We need to be consistent, to be correct.
MODAL MEDIATION in the PRESENT
It may / can be enough that you go EPIC terrestrial and you may / can see that the temperatures would favor a Colderstone for the role.
FORM RELATIVITY in the PRESENT
It could / might / would be enough that you went EPIC terrestrial and you would / could see that the temperatures might / would favor a Colderstone for the role.
2ND CONDITIONAL REFERENCE
If you went EPIC terrestrial, you would / could see that the temperatures might / would favor a Colderstone for the role.
NO MODAL MEDIATION or FORM RELATIVITY in the PRESENT
It is enough that you go EPIC terrestrial and you see that the temperatures favor a Colderstone for the role.
ZERO CONDITIONAL REFERENCE
If / When / As you go EPIC terrestrial, you see that the temperatures favor a Colderstone for the role.
MODAL MEDIATION in the PAST.
1. It was enough that you went EPIC terrestrial and you could see that the temperatures favored a Colderstone for the role.
ZERO CONDITIONAL in the PAST.
It was enough that you went EPIC terrestrial and you saw that the temperatures favored a Colderstone for the role.
Please mind, our Relativity is linguistic. Auxiliary time is relative to the main or head time. When we make hypotheses, we shift word form in a principled way: past forms tell about the present, present forms about the future, and we use anchors to tell about the past. The shift shows a relative reference because it is regular.
Feel welcome to continue with the language story in Part Three (!)
Part Three of the language voyage can bring
- Jill’s library in plain canvas ― the speech part and the determiner manner and matter (it is not realistic to hope to memorize all uses of the articles, a, an, or the, and the generative way remains correct, as above);
- Chantelle’s travel to the Book Cliffs ― verbal nouns and other ways of syntax to the notional time;
- Reported speech, the Passive, and many more components of our language landscape.