Please explain how to write past and present unreal conditional sentences.

i want to have some examples involving modals that express obligation in the IF clause with possibility in the main clause.

Expert Answers

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When writing conditional sentences, or any other sentences that contain clauses, one must always be attentive to the compatibility of tenses

Keep in mind, also, that the word if calls for the subjunctive mood.  (this is why we say if I were you, if this be true, he will learn, if he only listen to the professor--the verbs are in the Subjunctive mood)

e.g.  Mary would have attended the meeting yesterday, if she had not been out of town. (Conditional present perfect --past perfect, Subjunctive mood.)

or--Mary could attend today if she were not ill.   (Present conditional with present subjunctive)

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