Author Topic: I'd check if + present tense  (Read 557 times)

Offline Natalia

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I'd check if + present tense
« on: August 29, 2019, 10:45:20 AM »
I'd be grateful if you could tell me whether I can combine these two structures in bold to make one sentence. To me, it all sounds fine, but I just want to be sure.

Can we have a little chat now? I'd check if your Polish has improved since out last voicecall.

Offline Daniel

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Re: I'd check if + present tense
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2019, 04:40:33 PM »
I guess that's fine, but the use of "I'd" is odd there. Do you mean "I would" (which seems awkward), or "I could" (which doesn't contract to "I'd").
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Offline Natalia

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Re: I'd check if + present tense
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2019, 05:25:47 AM »
I mean "I would". I thought this form was fine, as there is no certainity that we will talk and by using "I would" I don't feel like I'm imposing anything on the listener, as opposed to "I will check if your Polish has improved". But since it sounds odd to you, maybe it'd be better to use "I'd like to check..."?

Offline panini

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Re: I'd check if + present tense
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2019, 07:44:26 AM »
Instead, I would say "I can/could check if your Polish has improved". Even that sounds strange, because it's hard to imagine a scenario where I (as a Polish speaker) would ever say such a thing (presumably to a non-speaker).  For example, as the non-speaker, X might say "I dunno if I'm ever learn this language. I try talking Polish to people, and they switch to English". My response should be (in some form) an invitation to X to speak some Polish, and we'll try to carry out a conversation in Polish. So I might say "Do you want to try talking Polish?" (well, more likely "Porozmawiajmy!"). The point is that if you're interested in sounding natural, your first concern has to be the message. Expressing an interest in whether a person has improved their language skills, and especially testing them on that, would be low on the list of messages that I'd ever want to send.

I suppose if I were the language-evaluator for a job that requires knowledge of Polish and I had to see if you were up to the required standard, I might maybe say something like "(In the course of the chat) I'd check if your Polish has improved". Even then, people would say "I need to check". Saying "I'd check if your Polish has improved" almost sounds like a threat.



Offline Daniel

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Re: I'd check if + present tense
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2019, 06:06:17 PM »
Yes, what panini said. In general, the question followed by conditional "would" is somewhat odd. I understand it easily, and it's not exactly wrong, but I don't think I'd often say it, maybe not ever. What you're trying to express is something like "Can we do X? If we X, then..." but this version is awkward. There are many more natural ways to phrase it like "Let's chat. Can I see if your Polish has improved?" or "Can we chat? I'd like to see if your Polish has improved." (Assuming you're a Polish teacher and it is normal to check on Polish ability, that would be two more natural ways to phrase this.)

More generally, here's a different example with the same form:
"Can we go to the store? I'd buy some ice cream."
It's a weird mix of a request then an offer, so it doesn't seem natural. It's possible to imagine a scenario where this could be used, such as negotiating: if you drive me to the store, the I will buy you some ice cream. But this sort of phrasing is not common. More often I'd say:
"Can we go to the store? I want (or would like) some ice cream."
"I want ice cream. Let's go to the store."
etc.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 06:08:43 PM by Daniel »
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Offline Audiendus

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Re: I'd check if + present tense
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2019, 09:34:06 PM »
"Can we go to the store? I'd buy some ice cream."
Yes. "Can we go to the store?" sounds like a real possibility, but "I'd buy some ice cream" sounds like only a hypothetical possibility. It is like mixing the first and second conditionals, which students are told not to do, e.g. "If we go to the store, I'd buy some ice cream".

If we want to use the 'hypothetical' form "I'd", the preceding sentence should be made more hypothetical in order to match, e.g:

"Perhaps we could go to the store. I'd buy some ice cream."
or
"It might be a good idea to go to the store. I'd buy some ice cream."

Offline Daniel

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Re: I'd check if + present tense
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2019, 05:26:15 PM »
I still think that's contextually weird for mixing a request/suggestion and an offer/reaction. It might be said, but rarely. It's also an odd focus on the intermediate step for the goal in the second sentence.
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Offline Natalia

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Re: I'd check if + present tense
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2019, 11:44:19 AM »
Quote
"Can we chat? I'd like to see if your Polish has improved."

Is it normal to use the verb "see" when we want to check something using our ears?

Offline Daniel

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Re: I'd check if + present tense
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2019, 12:55:53 PM »
Yes, "see" is often used just to mean "check, find out". (It can sometimes be like a pun when sight actually matters, but most of the time that's irrelevant.)
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