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91
English / Re: Is there any difference between these 2 sentences?
« Last post by Daniel on August 16, 2019, 07:49:28 AM »
You wrote the same sentence twice. Are you asking if it's ambiguous in some specific way? (All sentences can get different meanings in different contexts. That's what contexts do.)
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English / Re: Is there any difference between these 2 sentences?
« Last post by mallu on August 16, 2019, 07:48:33 AM »
Yes, Can these sentence get different interpretation in some context?
93
Morphosyntax / Re: ...if you are / were free
« Last post by Daniel on August 16, 2019, 06:37:00 AM »
My point was to emphasize the possible intonation difference. If "If you were free!?" was a tag question, almost a sentence in itself, that would be very odd. Consider:

1'. ???I thought maybe we could have a little chat now. I mean, if you were free?
2'. I thought maybe we could have a little chat now. I mean, if you are free?

But regarding comparing the two as paired clauses in a conditional sentence, I don't see why you wouldn't find "were" acceptable, unless you specifically don't like the formal use of the past form there in formal requests (which is fine, but very common at least for some English speakers). "I wanted to talk to you if you were free." or "I was going to ask you a question if you were free." Those are completely natural to my ears. The past tense is a way of being unimposing in an indirect request. It's a bit of a social oddity in English, but it's common enough.
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Morphosyntax / Re: ...if you are / were free
« Last post by Forbes on August 16, 2019, 02:09:18 AM »
Actually, I should clarify one thing: if these are questions as written in the original post, then "were" is very strange, assuming that's like a question tagged on the end-- "... If you were free?" But if it's a statement, "I thought X, if Y were the case" then that's OK as an alternative.

I think it is a case that if you saw, and more likely if you heard: "I thought maybe we could have a little chat now if you were free" whether as question or statement, it would pass unnoticed. It is only when asked to consider it, and especially if asked to compare it with: "I thought maybe we could have a little chat now if you are free" that you feel that, even if the former is not wrong, the latter is better.
95
English / Re: Is there any difference between these 2 sentences?
« Last post by Daniel on August 15, 2019, 04:24:04 PM »
That sentences you wrote look identical. Did you mean to make a contrast?
96
Morphosyntax / Re: ...if you are / were free
« Last post by Daniel on August 15, 2019, 04:05:03 PM »
Actually, I should clarify one thing: if these are questions as written in the original post, then "were" is very strange, assuming that's like a question tagged on the end-- "... If you were free?" But if it's a statement, "I thought X, if Y were the case" then that's OK as an alternative.
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Morphosyntax / Re: ...if you are / were free
« Last post by Forbes on August 15, 2019, 02:44:35 AM »
I agree that the first sentence comes over as not quite right.

I think we can show the problem with two different sentences:

We could go to the cinema if you were free.

The speaker acknowledges that the person addressed is in fact not free.

We could go to the cinema if you are free.

Here the speaker is uncertain if the person addressed is free.
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English / Is there any difference between these 2 sentences?
« Last post by mallu on August 14, 2019, 08:29:42 PM »
Is there any pragmatic difference between these 2  1) I am now by the gate                                    2)I am now at the gate  .      many thanks in advance ( corrected)
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Morphosyntax / Re: ...if you are / were free
« Last post by Daniel on August 13, 2019, 09:02:40 PM »
Either sounds fine to me. "Are" is a literal/accurate form, while "were" matches the indirect request with "thought".

Compare:
1'. Can we talk if you are free?
2'. *Can we talk if you were free?

"Are" is obviously the default form, but "were" can be used when speaking indirectly and emphasizing you aren't making any assumptions or being imposing.

Note that as with any variety of related forms, these indirect forms are indirect and can therefore be polite in the right circumstances (when talking to a someone in a higher social position, like a professor or boss), but can also be impolite/awkward when they don't match the situation (talking to friends, etc.).
100
Morphosyntax / Re: ...if you are / were free
« Last post by panini on August 13, 2019, 05:22:06 PM »
Yes, both are okay. The one with "were" is mildly odd, but I'd call that a style problem. The context kind of encourages use of "were". In "If you {were/*are} rich you could afford this" and "If you {are/*were} rich you can afford this", the distribution is more strict, and corresponds to counterfactuality in the case of "were". As an isolated answer to a question like "Is this affordable?", selection of were vs. are in the response ("Sure, if you {are/were} rich") similarly correlates with the implication that we don't know if you are rich (are) vs. we know that you are not rich (were). By selecting "were" in your pair, you are suggesting that the addressee is not free, which is a way of defeating the inference that you've just imposed an obligation on the addressee (since the sentence is plainly a request for a meeting). Perhaps my judgement of oddness stems from my dislike of contorted ways of making requests.
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