Site Search:
 

Banner

Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index Teacher Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

You could have come I would be your teacher

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Applied Linguistics
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Metamorfose



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:07 am    Post subject: You could have come I would be your teacher Reply with quote

This is from another forum, someone wanted to check the sentence below -- arguably said by a native speaker:

I used to teach English as a second Language. You could have come to Sydney and I would be your teacher.

I know the canonical would go and I could have been your teacher. My question, in the sentence uttered by the native speaker, does it really make any difference using could be or could have been, if not, is this "relaxation" common/accepted in all situations by native spakers?

Josť
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally find the sentence jarring. The "you could have come" implies the person didn't come, but the "I would be" sounds like it's in the future. I much prefer the "You could have come and I would have been" myself. I never know what to say about other possibilities, because there are a lot of variations. (Maybe that's why the person doesn't teach anymore Wink )
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't this a bit like the "mixed" conditionals you find in the better textbooks? (Swan & Walter's How English Works was a good one as I recall). The examples of which go a bit like this:

If Bruce Lee hadn't taken that headache tablet...he wouldn't have died/he'd probably still be alive.

That is: From events BACK THEN in the past...we are extrapolating the likely results more towards an "imagined NOW" (and in bold font) rather than to still just in the past. (That is, the "second conditional completion" is obviously "less remote" overall than the "third conditional completion" would be).

Another example: If I hadn't taught EFL...I wouldn't have had as much fun, but I could perhaps have become a materially richer man/I'd probably be a materially richer man!

Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Metamorfose



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember I saw some examples of these "mixted"* conditionals but nothing very deep, so one can wonder to what extend they are accepted by native speakers, and being the previous condition true, what would be the underlining meaning of each case.

Thank you Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy


* I like the quotations and they are really telling in this case.
Josť
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1368
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think mixed conditionals are fine, but in the example you gave, it didn't make sense to me. If you had given a different example, perhaps I wouldn't be confused now.

Hmm on rereading several times, if we both knew that your chance to come to Sydney was this semester, then perhaps it would work. In my mind, I thought the opportunity had passed, and therefore the second part didn't sound right.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Metamorfose



Joined: 21 Jul 2003
Posts: 345
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

If you had given a different example, perhaps I wouldn't be confused now.

Cool Cool

Quote:

Hmm on rereading several times, if we both knew that your chance to come to Sydney was this semester, then perhaps it would work.


The context given was just that the person who posted the original sentence was talking to this Australian friend, no time referrence was given. But if I read you well... although the semester is not over yet, somehow it is assumed that my coming to Sydney is impossible, so such utterance would go the way it went. On the other hand, the different readings,Isn't it an instance when Americans and Brits have difference approaches/uses?

Josť
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, I'm not aware of a difference in usage either side of the Atlantic.

To be honest Josť, I didn't really give your example a lot of thought, and went more or less straight into thinking up other examples with the same structure (but I suppose if it had been semantically problematic it would've given me more pause for thought (obviously it didn't though)).

So again I think the most straightforward thing that can really be said about your example is that the 'I would be your teacher' is less remote than the 'You could have come to Sydney'. (Lewis rides to the rescue again!).

That is, the way I'm reading it the opportunity to visit Sydney is gone, has definitely passed (and how could it not have, with the phrasing given?), not that this prevents the Aussie ex-ELTer's mind from imagining all sorts of counter-realities (and beyond the missed visit).

But I'll leave you and Lori to discuss it further, if you think there's more mileage in it! Surprised Cool Wink Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jotham



Joined: 16 Nov 2006
Posts: 507

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 6:29 am    Post subject: Re: You could have come I would be your teacher Reply with quote

Metamorfose wrote:
This is from another forum, someone wanted to check the sentence below -- arguably said by a native speaker:

I used to teach English as a second Language. You could have come to Sydney and I would be your teacher.

I know the canonical would go and I could have been your teacher. My question, in the sentence uttered by the native speaker, does it really make any difference using could be or could have been, if not, is this "relaxation" common/accepted in all situations by native spakers?

Josť

I think it's just carelessness. We write or especially say things in our accustomed insouciance, that if we went back and thought about it, we would understand our goof and correct it. (I'm not talking about deliberate breaking of the rules, or dialect, etc.) I wouldn't take everything a native speaker says online as gospel truth in English grammar or idiom or as genuine common speech patterns and try to analyze it as such. Especially in casual contexts. That would sometimes result in trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

It seems in your example there is no more opportunity for this to happen in the future or this semester because the first sentence reads: I used to teach English, which implies no mas. So the setting taking place in the past, the third phrase would have to be "would have been."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Applied Linguistics All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Teachers College, Columbia University: Train to Teach English Here or Abroad
SIT

This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group