Three types of conditionals and their verb forms in English and Portuguese

Cognitive Linguistics 19 (2):219-240 (2008)
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An examination of conditionals in diĀ¤erent languages leads to a distinction of three types of conditionals instead of the usual two (indicative and subjunctive). The three types can be explained by the degree of acceptance or as-if acceptance of the truth of the antecedent. The labels subjunctive and indicative are shown to be inadequate. So-called indicative conditionals comprise two classes, the very frequent uncertain-fact conditionals and the quite rare accepted-fact conditionals. Uncertain-fact conditionals may have a time shift in contemporary English and the future subjunctive in Portuguese (though not all of them do). Moreover, paraphrases of if with in case or supposing are usually possible with approximately the same meaning. Accepted-fact conditionals never have these features.

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