In real condition, both the main clause and the dependent clause are truth-neutral.
Although the most common type of real condition refers to the future, there are no special restrictions on the time reference of conditions or on the tense forms used to express them. The following examples may illustrate the variety of time relations and tense forms expressing them, for example:
If we don`t hear from you we send someone along. [4, p.644]
(Simple Present + Simple Present)
If he told you that yesterday, he lied. [3, p.184]
(Simple Past + Simple Past)
If she left so early, she will certainly be here tonight. [3, p.127]
(Simple Past + will “future”).
The truth-neutrality of an if-clause is reflected in the possibility of using such constructions as:
If you should manage to see her, please let me know. [7, p.88]
(Should + Infinitive in place of the Simple Present)
The effect of predication with “should” is to make the condition slightly more tentative and “academic” than it would be with the ordinary Present Tense.
A more formal expression of a tentative real condition is achieved by omitting if and inverting the subject and the auxiliary “should”:
Should you ask I’ll be there to help you. [4, p.348]
Some grammarians, such as professors Chernovatyi and professor Caraban devide all adverbial subordinate clauses of real condition according to the three main types:
- The subordinate clauses with the condition and the result referred to the Present Simple. Example:
If the only thought appears, she makes herself think of something else. [7, p.79]
- The subordinate clauses with the condition and the result referred to the Past Simple. For example:
The Ministry of Magic said I’d be expelled from Hogwarts if there was any more magic there! [5, p.16]
- The subordinate clauses with the condition and/or the result referred to the Future Simple. They are:
If I get a bad reaction, I`ll die, she thought, but in the aftermath of her panic she didn`t care. [7, p.57]
Adverbial clauses of unreal condition
The precise grammatical and semantic nature of the switch from real to unreal conditions is obviously relevant to overlapping relations in such types of sentence-patterning
Clauses of this type are generally introduced by such connectives as: if, unless, provided, on condition that, in case, suppose (supposing), but that, once.
What has immediate relevance here is the grammatical organization of the conditional sentence, the verb-forms of its predicate, in particular. Example:
If he hadn`t had his little kit with the hyperdermic, I guess he would choked to death. [7, p.58]
The clauses of unreal condition are also divided into three main types:
- The unreal condition in the Present Simple (in this case the condition is expressed by the Present Simple tense and the result – with the help of “would”).For example:
If she started to slide, she would grab one of those as she`d grabbed the alder at the edge of the stream. [7, p.54]
- The unreal condition in the past.
– the result in the present (the condition is expressed with the help of Past Perfect and the result – with the help of would (could, might) + verb) Example:
If anything had happened, it would surely have been the first item on the news. [4, p.2]
– the result in the past (the condition is expressed with the help of Past Perfect and the result – with the help of “would (could, might) + Past Participle).For example:
If he had not got injured, he could have become a champion. [4, p.456]
Adverbial Clauses of Manner and Comparison
Sub-clauses of manner and comparison characterize the action of the principal clause by comparing it to some other action. Patterns of this sort are synsemantic in their value. Sometimes the implication of comparison seems quite prominent, in other cases the clause is clearly one of manner.
He read it through quickly and felt suddenly as warm and contented as though he`d swallowed a bottle of hot butter bear in one gulp. [4, p.159]
In patterns like She did it as best as she could the implication of comparison is hardly felt at all.
The conjunction as has a wide and varied range of structural meanings. It is often used to introduce sub-clauses of time and cause, and it is only the context that makes the necessary meaning clear.
Further examples of sub-clauses of comparison are:
Careful as he was, working at the very peak of his ability, he lost control at high speed. [2, p.53]
Adverbial Clauses of Place
Clauses of place do not offer any difficulties of grammatical analysis; they are generally introduced by the relative adverb where or by the phrase from where, to where, example:
She walked in that direction, then stood looking into the tangled darkness where young trees with thin trunks grew close together. [7, p.173]
Like in other types of complex sentences, clauses introduced by the adverb where are sometimes on the borderline between subordination and co-ordination, meant to continue the narrative associated with the previous statement rather than indicate the place where action took place, example:
Halfway along he passed the narrow alleyway down the side of a garage where he had first clapped eyes on his godfather. [4, p.5]
There has been some discussion in the works of professors Gordon and Krylova whether the word where introducing a subordinate clause of place is an adverb or a conjunction. The latter view was suggested by a certain analogy with the conjunction when introducing clauses of time. However, the possibility of the word where being preceded by the preposition from, as in some of the above examples, is a definite argument against its being a conjunction. [5, p.300]
Adverbial Clauses of Purpose
The grammatical organization of sub-clauses of purpose does not take long to explain.
What merits consideration here is the syntactic organization of the constituents of the complex sentence and the verb-forms in the structure of predication.
Clauses expressing purpose are known to be introduced by the conjunction that or lest and by the phrases in order that, so that. Example:
From its present height of twenty-eight thousand feet, it must descend some three and a half miles to where the air was denser so that passengers and crew could breathe and survive without supplemental oxygen. [3, p.158]
That has, perhaps, no rivals among connectives. It is well known to have a particularly wide range of structural meanings, but no ambiguity arises in actual usage. As always in language, the context will remove in each case all the other significations, as potentially implicit in that which in subordination may do the duty of a relative pronoun and a conjunction.
Infinitival phrases implying purpose relations are commonplace. Familiar example is:
It happened late at night, he sat near the doors to catch the gleaming shadows in the corridor. [4, p.205]
Adverbial Clauses of Result
Clauses of result or consequence will also exemplify the synsemantic character of syntactic structures. Their formal arrangement is characterized by two patterns:
clauses included by the conjunction that correlated with the pronoun such or the pronoun so in the main clause;
Ron’s euphoria at helping Gryffindor scrape the Quidditch cup was such that he couldn’t settle to anything next day. [4, p.522]
The owl was so small, in fact, that it kept tumbling over in the air, buffeted this way and that in the train’s slipstream. [5, p.158]
clauses included by phrasal connective so that. Example:
Nobody was glaring at him, grinding their teeth so loudly that he could not hear the news, or shooting nasty questions at him. [4, p.1]
Variation in the lexical-grammatical organization of such clauses is generally associated with variation in their meaning.
Instances are not few, for instance, when a clause of result is suggestive of the degree or the state of things indicated by the main clause. The moaning of such clauses is always made clear by contextual indication.
Temporal clauses cover a wide and varied range of meanings. Relations of time between the action of the main clause and that of the subordinate may differ: the two actions or states may be simultaneous, one may precede or follow the other, or, say, one may last until the other begins, etc. The temporal clauses are represented by such conjunctions as before, after, since, until, when, as. Examples:
When people got lost in the woods they always found them. [7, p.53]
As she did it she thought of an “I love you Lucy” episode she`d seen on Nick and Nite. [7, p.93]
All is well, until one day the painter`s ghost appears at her home and she realizes that even now, the relationship is not quite over. [2, p.46]
Every time she tried the twist, she felt clumsy and stupid. [8, p.6]
Synsemantic in their character, temporal clauses have often a mixed meaning. In some patterns there is only a suggestion of the secondary meaning, in others it is fairly prominent.
In different contexts of their use sub-clauses of time may change their primary meaning. In some patterns there is a suggestion of conditional relations, as in:
When at home, do as the Romans do. (Proverb)
Instances are not few when temporal clauses are suggestive of causal relations, example:
Ten times he tried, and all ten times, as he passed through seventy miles per hour, he burst into a churning mass of feathers, out of control, crashing down into the water. [2, p.53]
It is to be noted that secondary meanings are generally signaled not so much by the grammatical organization of the sentence as by the lexical context which is the first to be considered relevant. [2, Internet sources]
Studying syntax in relation to vocabulary presents here its own point of interest.
Not less characteristic are the secondary meanings implied in a sub-clause of time in such contexts when it comes to indicate an action or state as contrasted to that of the main clause.
Examples of such sentences may be found in numbers.
He pretended to be adding notes to it while really peering over the top of the parapet. [4, p.534]
Synonymic alternatives of sub-clauses of time:
a) Gerundive Nominals:
She knew she shouldn`t be thinking of Jeremy while dancing with Todd. [8, p.4]
On the fourth night of the festival, just before leaving his room on this errand, William sat on his Balcony and flicked idly through the program to see what delights awaited the jury members during the rest of the week. [2, p.33]
b) Participial Nominals:
Breathing oxygen deeply, he planned his movement forward in the aircraft. [3, p.166]