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Hello, thank you for your help.

Which of these sentences is correct and why?

1.It might be best if we include plans for the move to our new office.

2. It might be best if we included plans for the move to our new office.

I think the first is correct because it is a suggestion for a future action, however, I have an ESL student who thinks the 2nd is correct since it is a 2nd conditional which requires speakers to use past simple in the if clause and modal word, might in the result clause.  She also commented that keeping the word included stays with the same tense as is used with the word might.

To be honest I am not as familiar with the conditional aspects of grammar as I should be as a teacher.  I am confused.

And, can we apply the same reasoning to the following sentence:

I think it would be better if you came back. (Came being past tense which would align with the same usage of included in the above sentence.)

Thank you so much for any help in this.  Your advice for my last question helped the student and I immensely.

Janice Miller

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Hi, Janice,

@Janice posted:

I have an ESL student who thinks the 2nd is correct since it is a 2nd conditional which requires speakers to use past simple in the if clause and modal word, might in the result clause.  She also commented that keeping the word included stays with the same tense as is used with the word might.

To be honest I am not as familiar with the conditional aspects of grammar as I should be as a teacher.  I am confused.

Most ESL books present merely four types of conditionals, and occasionally include mixed conditionals (where the condition and the result refer to different points in time):

Type 0: If we include plans for the move to our new office, everything's perfect (present/present)
Type 1: If we include plans for the move to our new office, everything will be perfect (present/future)
Type 2: If we included plans for the move to our new office, everything would be perfect (unreal past/conditional simple)
Type 3: If we had included plans for the move to our new office, everything would have been perfect (past perfect/conditional perfect)
Mixed conditional: If we had included plans for the move to our new office, everything would be perfect now (this combines a condition in the past with a result in the present)
Mixed conditional: If we were in a better position, we would have moved earlier (this combines a condition in the present with a result in the past)

ESL books generally state that, apart from future, you can also find imperative, can or may  in the result of Type 1 conditionals, while you can find could or might instead of conditional would in the result of Type 2 and 3 conditionals.

As we all know, in real life we encounter many other variations.

@Janice posted:

1.It might be best if we include plans for the move to our new office.

2. It might be best if we included plans for the move to our new office.

[...]

I think it would be better if you came back. (Came being past tense which would align with the same usage of included in the above sentence.)

Both (1) and (2) are correct depending on the likelihood of the condition, which is higher in (1) and lower in (2). The result expressed by might is tentative in both cases.

Similarly, we could say:

3. It would be better if you come back.
4. It would be better if you came back. (more usual)

The condition is more probable in (3) than in (4), but the result expressed by would is equally tentative.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

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