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IF/WHEN in this sentence and context Options
EnglishFanatic92
Posted: Sunday, July 23, 2017 4:08:15 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 6/14/2016
Posts: 60
Neurons: 380
Hello all :)

I have got the following sentence:

As well as the streets that sell a wide range of clothes and shoes, there are also streets famous for high quality antiques. Unfortunately, most of the bargains disappeared many years ago.
However, if (when??) you look around carefully, you could still come across an interesting souvenir.


Is it true that "when" would not be correct here? My teacher told me that in colloquial speech it might occur but it is not something she would recommend that I use. In other words - it would NOT be a standard language. Is she right? Please, tell me.

Thank you very much.
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, July 23, 2017 11:20:44 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 8,158
Neurons: 43,559
EnglishFanatic92 wrote:
Hello all :)

I have got the following sentence:

As well as the streets that sell a wide range of clothes and shoes, there are also streets famous for high quality antiques. Unfortunately, most of the bargains disappeared many years ago.
However, if (when??) you look around carefully, you could still come across an interesting souvenir.


Is it true that "when" would not be correct here? My teacher told me that in colloquial speech it might occur but it is not something she would recommend that I use. In other words - it would NOT be a standard language. Is she right? Please, tell me.

Thank you very much.


Yes, she is right. Since you are told most of the bargains disappeared many years ago, there is little incentive to go there. Using "when you look around", assumes you have gone there, whereas using "if you go there" assumes you might not be tempted.

This is the "if/then" situation using a hypothetical. If you go, you could find something interesting. But saying "when" you go, removes the hypothetical and treats your visit as something you will do rather than something you might do.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, July 23, 2017 1:51:31 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 7,988
Neurons: 25,260
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
EnglishFanatic92 wrote:
Hello all :)

I have got the following sentence:

As well as the streets that sell a wide range of clothes and shoes, there are also streets famous for high quality antiques. Unfortunately, most of the bargains disappeared many years ago.
However, if (when??) you look around carefully, you could still come across an interesting souvenir.


Is it true that "when" would not be correct here? My teacher told me that in colloquial speech it might occur but it is not something she would recommend that I use. In other words - it would NOT be a standard language. Is she right? Please, tell me.

Thank you very much.


Your teacher is right. The word "if" usually sets up a subjunctive-conditional (or the relatively tensed equivalent) pair of clauses, whereas the word "when" typically requires the two clauses to be the same tense and mood. Informally, "if" and "when" are often interchangeable, so be aware of it, but you shouldn't make it a habit in your own speech.



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
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