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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread May 14th, 2010, 04:57 am
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Question "How would you feel if..." what tense/what do you call this type of question?

I have some situations where students are asked to use various emotions to describe how they'd feel in that situation.

For example:

You lose your credit cards.
You go to town with odd shoes on

I want the students to create and ask each other questions like:

How would you feel if you lost your credit cards?
How would you feel if you went to town with odd shoes on?

What tense is this? I'm not sure what to call that type of sentence. Present perfect? You're talking about something that would happen in the future, then use past tense words to describe it. I've been Googling like crazy with no results for a "how would you feel if" type question.

I just want to know how to explain to my students what type of question I want them to create. I can show them how to do it easily enough, I just don't know what you call it.
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Unread May 15th, 2010, 05:44 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: "How would you feel if..." what tense/what do you call this type of question?

You're off track. This is what is normally called a "second conditional" sentence.

"Conditional" sentences are, broadly speaking, sentences which contain an "if clause" (a clause is a group of words containing at least a subject and a verb but possibly other elements too). So here, your "if clauses" are, eg, if you lost your credit cards / if you went to town with odd shoes on (which incidentally I did the other day - whoops).

Notice that the verb in these clauses is in the second form (in the sense of the second form in the list of forms usually given: lose, lost, lost / go, went, gone etc). The second form is usually called the "simple past", but this is misleading, as expressing past time is only one of it's meanings. Another is to express hypothetical events - and that's what you can see happening here. Some other examples of the use of the second form to express a hypothetical event can be seen in : Imagine you won the lottery .../I wish I had his phone number. This last one shows the hypothetical nature of the event clearly. The real situation is that you don't have his number. It's a present situation, and the use of the second form verb after I wish indicates it's hypothetical.

"If clauses" are subordinate clauses - ie they always have to be "tacked on" to another (main) clause - in this case How would you feel? (A main clause is one that can potentially stand alone as a full sentence. Eg here : Imagine you lost your credit cards. How would you feel?)

In this clause you have the modal auxiliary verb would. Would is the second form of will. One of the uses of Will (negative won't) is to express a prediction - as in I think it will rain soon / (knock on the door) That will be David.

So, would is the second form of will, which expresses prediction, and as we've seen, second form verbs can express either past time or hypotheticality. So when we ask How would you feel? You are asking the person to make a hypothetical prediction of their feeling. There's no "reality" about the situation - it's just something in our imagination. So second form verbs are used for both the event (If I lost my credit cards ...) and the prediction (I would panic.)

So - as a short answer to your question, the sentence is a second conditional structure made up of an If clause and a main clause, and asking for a (hypothetical) prediction about a hypothetical (or imaginary) situation.

A note on teaching it. If you try and teach the two clauses together, the students will get confused. It's easier for them if you separate things out and teach one thing at a time, moving on only when you're sure they've fully understood the preceding steps:

a) first you teach the use of will for making predictions.
b) then you teach the "first conditional" which expresses the predicted consequences for a situation seen as concretely possible : if you press this button, the light will come on.
c) then you teach the use of the second form for describing hypothetical situations using I wish ..
d) then you teach them to make hypothetical predictions by setting up a situation where there are hypothetical consequences for a proposal which has not yet been decided -eg The Council is proposing to close Enderby Hospital. This would mean the loss of 1,400 jobs..
e) then bring the two second forms together, but in separate sentences : Imagine you lost all your credit cards. How would you feel? - the student only has to use the prediction clause to reply.
f) finally, show them how to bring the two together If I lost my credit cards, I'd panic.

Incidentally, you'll find more info on the uses of will at this post : Future simple / will - be going to
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread May 16th, 2010, 08:37 pm
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Default Re: "How would you feel if..." what tense/what do you call this type of question?

Excellent surgical response from Susan.
I'd like to study a DELTA with her.
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Unread May 17th, 2010, 02:33 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: "How would you feel if..." what tense/what do you call this type of question?

Kisito - Would love to have you. It's all on-line - click on the link !
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Unread May 19th, 2010, 01:13 am
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Default Re: "How would you feel if..." what tense/what do you call this type of question?

Quote:
Quote kisito View Post
I'd like to study a DELTA with her.
I don't know ... It sounds pretty hard ...

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