Inverted conditional

From Teflpedia

An inverted conditional employs subject-auxiliary inversion within a conditional clause.

Form[edit | edit source]

In English this can only be done with two verbs; "be" and "have" (though not others), and only using the past tense (with any aspect)

Examples include:

Example Equivalent meaning with "if" Typical conditional form
"Were I rich, …" "If I were rich…" Second conditional
"Had I a lot of money, …" "If I had a lot of money, …" Second conditional
"Had I been rich, …" "If I had been rich, …" Third conditional

The above examples are all for unreal conditionals because they are distanced due to irrealis. They therefore use the subjunctive and use "were" instead of "was" (though speakers may ignore this rule and use was anyway). It may also be possible to talk about real conditionals in the past using this??

Similar usage of should is covered at conditional should.

Pedagogy[edit | edit source]

This is often ignored when initially teaching the conditional forms. Its usage tends to be more common in formal registers, and it is slightly briefer and saves a word on word count.