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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread May 22nd, 2010, 05:24 pm
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Join Date: Apr 24th, 2010
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thadajirajaras is on a distinguished road
Default Impossible situations

Impossible situations
Using "If-clause" and "wish"
Impossible situations in present : present sim-->past simple, present perfect--> past perfect
Impossible situations in past : past sim-->past perfect

How about another types of sentences?

For example:

1)[one impossible situation - one fact]
Eventhough You [are/were] the superman, you can't help me from the death.

2)[a second impossible situation - a second Impossible situation]
Eventhough You [have/had] a strong body, you [don't/didn't] have a strong mind.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread May 23rd, 2010, 06:30 am
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
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Default Re: Impossible situations

No - even though expresses a real situation, not a hypothetical situation. For example :
I look out of the window and see that it's raining. But I really want to go for a walk. So I say :
Even though it's raining, I'm going for a walk.

I think you're thinking of even if which expresses hypothetical situations (NB not impossible, just hypothetical) : Even if I won the lottery, I would still go on working.

The rule here, just as with any other hypothetical statement (eg with I wish or any other expression introducing a hypothetical statement) is:

1. If the real situation is present or future and therefore expressed by a first form verb, the hypothetical situation is expressed by a second form verb.

Real situation : I have to work on Sunday so I can't go to the picnic. (have and can are first form verbs)
Hypothetical situation : But even if I didn't have to work, I still couldn't go because of my hay fever. (When the situation becomes hypothetical, the verbs become second form - didn't have/couldn't).

2. If the real situation is past, then the past perfect is used :
Real situation : I only slept for two hours last night.
Hypothetical situation : I wish I had slept more last night

So the correct forms of your sentences are :

a. Superman is standing in front of me. So he's real. We're on top of a 30 storey building. I'm Catwoman and think I've tied him up so strongly that he'll never escape and prevent me from committing suicide rather than dying a horrible death from a lingering disease I've contracted (sorry folks but it's not my example ). I say :
Even though you are Superman you can't / won't save me from death! (and jump off the roof ).
Here everything is real and present, so even though and first form verbs are used.

b. Now the mood gets really dire - Thadaji please give us some more cheerful examples next time.... This time the person in front of me is not Superman. So the whole sentence is hypothetical, Even if is used and the verbs move to the second form :
Even if you were Superman you couldn't /wouldn't save me.

In your second example

a)the person standing in front of me looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger - ie he really has a strong body. But he is psychologically weak, indecisive, easily influenced by others etc. ie - he doesn't have a strong mind. So I say :
Even though you have a strong body, you don't have a strong mind. (real present situations : first form verbs)

b) The real situation is that, as above, the person is psychologically weak, indecisive, easily influenced by others etc. But this time he is also physically weak, thin, with no muscles etc. He has started a body building course, convinced that this is going to solve all his problems, psychological as well as physical. I'm sceptical : in my opinion the reality is that it's not true that if he has a strong body he will automatically have a strong mind. So I say :
Even if you had a strong body, you still wouldn't have a strong mind.
Again notice the correspondance between the verbs describing what I think is the real situation ( expressed with the first form verbs has/will) and the hypothetical situation (expressed with the second form verbs had/would)

Do you see that these are not "grammatical" rules? It's not a matter of "if you use one verb here, you must use another one there" but rather a matter of what meaning you are trying to express. Grammar gives us ways to express different meanings - you choose the form depending on which meaning you want to express - which in turn depends entirely on context.
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Last edited by susan53 : May 24th, 2010 at 04:32 am.
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