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Hello. Which one is correct, please?

- If only scientists (would discover - discovered) a cure for cancer, it would be a great breakthrough.

Hell, Ahmed Imam Attia—Both choices are grammatically correct; however, from the standpoint of meaning, only "would discover" makes sense.

  • If only scientists would discover a cure for cancer, it would be a great breakthrough.

"If only they would" indicates that the antecedent expresses a wish that the speaker regards as unlikely to come true.

  • If only scientists discovered a cure for cancer, it would be a great breakthrough.

That sentence would make sense without "only," but "only scientists" ruins it. It would be a great breakthrough if anyone discovered a cure for cancer.

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