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Unit 37. If I do… and If I did
(использование оборотов If I do … и If I did …)

Compare these examples:

(1) Sue has lost her watch. She thinks it may be at Ann's house.

  • SUE: I think I left my watch at your house. Have you seen it?
  • ANN: No, but I'll have a look when I get home. If I find it, I'll tell you.

In this example, Ann feels there is a real possibility that she will find the watch. So she says: If I find…, I'll… .

(2) Ann says: If I found a wallet in the street, I'd take it to the police.

This is a different type of situation. Here, Ann is not thinking about a real possibility; she is imagining the situation and doesn't expect to find a wallet in the street. So she says: If I found…, I'd (= I would)… (not ‘If I find…, I'll…’).

When you imagine something like this, you use if + past (if I found / if you were / if we didn't etc.). But the meaning is not past:

  • What would you do if you won a million pounds? (we don't really expect this to happen)
  • I don't really want to go to their party, but I probably will go. They'd be offended if I didn't go.
  • Sarah has decided not to apply for the job. She isn't really qualified for it, so she probably wouldn't get it if she applied.
Unit 37. If I do… and If I did…

We do not normally use would in the if-part of the sentence:

But it is possible to say ‘if… would’ when you ask somebody to do something:

In the other part of the sentence (not the if-part) we use would ('d) / wouldn't:

Could and might are also possible:

Do not use when in sentences like those on this page:

For if and when see also Unit 25 When I do/ When I've done When and if
(использование оборотов when I do, when I've done, when, if).

See Unit 38 If I knew … I wish I knew …
(использование оборотов If I knew … и I wish I knew …)

See Unit 39 If I had known … I wish I had known …
(использование оборотов If I had known … и I wish I had known …)

See Unit 40 Would I wish … would
(использование данных оборотов)

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