English as a Second Language/English grammar


Dear sir,I have had a lot of problems in dealing with 'If clause'.I'll explain the situation first so that you can have a better idea about my problem.Suppose that a friend of mine went to a party whereas I couldn't.There can't I say, IF YOU WENT TO THE PARTY, YOU MAY HAVE MET ANN.I feel it must be possible because of its being a real situation. (If the above sentence is right and the answer of my friend is 'yes', Can't I say "IF SHE WAS AT/CAME TO THE PARTY,SHE MUST HAVE TALKED TO YOU AS WELL.').Thank you in advance.

Dear Buddhi,

Given that your friend went to the party, and that you know that Ann was at the party, you can say any of the following:

"If you went to the party,

you will have met Ann." - You are certain
you must have met Ann." - It is logically certain.
you may have met Ann." - It is possible.

Given that situation, you can also say:

If she was at (/went to) the party,

she will have talked to you." - You are certain
she must have talked to you." - It is logically certain.
she may have talked to you." - It is possible.

In all of these sentences, the if-clause is referring to a situation that is accepted, not to one that is considered merely possible. The context will make this clear.

With best wishes,


English as a Second Language

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Jed Webb


I can assist with questions about English grammar (syntax, morphology, pronunciation and spelling)from learners taking such examinations as TOEFL, IELTS, FCE and CAE and other internationally recognised tests.


I have over forty years of experience in the teaching of modern languages, twenty-four of them in the Teaching of English as a Second Language. I have been an examiner for FCE, BEC and IELTS examinations, and a teacher trainer on courses leading to the Trinity College Certificate in TESOL.

The Philological Society The International Phonetic Association The College of Teachers The International Association of Teachers of EFL The Royal Society of Arts (Fellow)

British Journal of Language Teaching, Vol XIX Nos I and II Education Today, Vol 41, Nos 1 and 3 Co-Author: Nix and Webb (1984) 'Creative English', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Contributor: Nix and Riederer (1973), 'Bottoms Up', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Rosenau and Nix, (1979), 'Look it up', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen Nix and Ringholz, 'English in Projects', Bad Homburg: Verlag Gehlen

BA (English), University of Durham. Qualified Teacher Status, UK Department of Education and Science Further and Adult Education Teacher's Certificate, City and Guilds of London Institute ACP(TESOL), College of Preceptors Dip TESOL, Trinity College, London Dip Ed (ELT), Exeter University ACP (Management Studies in Education), College of Teachers Certificate of Proficiency in the Phonetics of English, International Phonetic Association

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I have taught: General and Business English classes for: Alcan, Allianz Versicherung, Robert Bosch, Daimler-Benz, Ford, Hewlett Packard, Kodak, Mövenpick, Radiomobil (O2), Siemens, Unilever. TOEFL and FCE classes for: eská Spoitelna,SOB, Czech Ministry of Trade, Czech Statistics Office.

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