Grammar series: Second Conditional

poem by: Geoffrey Brewer
Written on Oct 13, 2016


If I were a gambling man; as it is I have only an occasional flutter
And if I had a big win, I would eat a good meal, and buy myself some new schmutter *

Note: this would make more elegant prose if instead of "if I..." I wrote "we're I" and "had I"
Then perhaps The Bard and Yeats would approve and Jane Austin would give me the glad eye

I may not mind if we use modern language rather than that which is sadly defunct if 
We avoid "if I was", rather say: "if I were" mindful that we are using the subjunctive

The First Conditional is suited to admonishments by uncles from Amsterdam, Delft or Utrecht **
While the Third is rueful and contrite for sins of commission or mostly of neglect

So the Second is the one that's my favourite and always has me beguiled
Since it inspires creativity, phantasy and imagination run wild

* schmutter /shmutˈər/ (slang)   noun
ORIGIN: Yiddish schmatte rag
[Chambers Dictionary (iOS) © Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd.]

** Dutch uncle
: one who admonishes sternly and bluntly
[Merriam Webster]

Teachers and learners of English grammar (there haven't been many in this country in the last 
50 years!) will be familiar with the the grammatical  language constructions: The Conditionals.


Tags: happy, humor, rhyme,


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