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Confusion about Future Real Conditional tense. Thank you in advance my friends, My questions are very simple; just to make sure that I am 100% correct. Can we use Can/Could, May/Might, Shall/Should, Will/Would in the main sentence? (Future Real Conditionals) ex. If it rains tomorrow, you Can/Could, May/Might, Shall/Should my umbrella. and Do different "can and could" indicate different meaning? Thanks!
Nov 1, 2016 5:06 AM
Answers · 4
All of these are possible, however each one provides a different nuance to the sentence. Also, each of these are auxiliary verbs and must have another verb after them. So in this case you could say "If it rains tomorrow, you could use my umbrella." Now, allow me to explain the difference between each verb. "can" indicates ability and in some casual contexts, permission. "could" indicates possibility or a suggestion. "may" indicates permission. "might" indicates possibility or likelihood of something to occur. "shall" indicates a statement of certainty; as if that is the only outcome in the situation. "should" indicates a strong suggestion. Any of these would be fine, but think first about how you want to express it. Any of them would be fine. To me, however, in this context, "might" and "shall" sound slightly unnatural; Especially in the case of "shall," it sounds a bit demanding. I hope this helps. Let me know if you are still confused.
November 1, 2016
You can use all these modal forms in place of "will" in first conditional sentences in general. But be careful about the meaning. In your sentence, "may" gives permission but "might" does not and has no obvious context for it to be used naturally. "shall" here would be the legal "shall" - a very strong order - and so inappropriate for the context. "can" indicates possibility and gives permission, but "could" indicates only possibility in answers to questions, and has a sense of tentativeness or doubt. There may be other options for you to avoid getting wet.
November 1, 2016
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language