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If I go to Moscow, I'll see the Red Square. (first conditional)
George said if he went to Moscow he would see the Red Square. (reported First Conditional)

If I went to Moscow, I would see the Red Square. (second conditional)
George said if he went to Moscow he would see the Red Square. (reported Second Conditional)

Reported first and second conditionals are identical in form, which is confusing. Does anyone know how to report Second Conditional in a different way?



Thanks

Original Post

Hi, David Toklikishvili,

If I go to Moscow, I'll see the Red Square. (first conditional)
George said if he went to Moscow he would see the Red Square. (reported First Conditional)



There is another possibility here. You can keep the time frame without any change if the proposition is still true.

- George said if he goes to Moscow he will see the Red Square.



If I went to Moscow, I would see the Red Square. (second conditional)
George said if he went to Moscow he would see the Red Square. (reported Second Conditional)






From 'A Comprehensive Grammar Of The English Language', page 1031:
"The past subjunctive or hypothetical past is backshifted to hypothetical past perfective if there is a change in time reference. Backshift is optional if the proposition is still valid."
- "If I were in England, I would visit …," he said.
- He said that if he were / had been in England, he would visit / would have visited…

Reported first and second conditionals are identical in form, which is confusing. Does anyone know how to report Second Conditional in a different way?





The question is "How can we know the basic sentence is first or second conditional?" I think it is context and logic that determine the writer's intended meaning in this case. Talking about imaginary things in the present or the future leads automatically to the second conditional, but in sentences like yours above, you need to know the background (context) to decide the intended meaning.

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