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MaryM

  • 4 years ago

Is this sentence: "We will have to wait until January to see if it wins an Oscar" a time clause, an object clause, or a conditional clause? (ie, with "will wait" is "wins" incorrect? must be "will wait" and "will win"?) Thanks!

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  1. anonymous
    • 4 years ago
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    Mary, I am not familiar with the ESL approach to grammar -- an ESL learner must take apart sentences in a way that native speakers generally don't -- so my answer may not use the terminology or logic you are used to. I can tell you that the sentence is correct. "We will have to wait" or "we will need to wait" or "we must wait" -- any of these would be correct. "We will wait" could also work, but this would be a different sentence, with a different meaning. The tenses -- "we will have to wait" and "if it wins" -- are correct. Now, as to which of those three clauses come into play here . . . . If this were a conditional sentence, you would have an "if/then" relationship, and you'd be able to flip the "if" portion to the front of the sentence. "If it wins an Oscar, we will have to wait . . ." makes no sense, so this is not a conditional sentence. "If it wins an Oscar, we will be happy" is. (We will be happy if it wins an Oscar = If it wins an Oscar, we will be happy.) There is no conditional clause in this sentence. I had never heard of a "time clause" before, because this is not something that native speakers generally have to study. I've done a little internet searching, and I see now that it is the "until" that is the candidate word. In time clauses, the time marker (which in this case might be "until") begins a new clause. But in this sentence, "until" does not begin a new clause. It is a preposition, and the phrase it introduces ("until January") is used adverbially. Thus, there is no time clause in this sentence. So that leaves object clauses. Could there be an object clause here? If you take a look at the infinitive phrase -- "to see if it wins an Oscar" -- you will see that the infinitive takes an object. "To see" . . what? "If it wins an Oscar." This clause is acting as the "what" that we will (or will not) see. The entire clause is the object, and that clause is the object clause. Make sense? As an aside, I would have used "whether" to begin that clause, rather than "if," but "if" is often what you'd hear. It has become idiomatic.

  2. jagatuba
    • 4 years ago
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    I think the use of if and until were intentionally used since they act as cues for conditional and time clauses respectively. This would made sense in an ASL program because it forces the learner to actually decompose the sentence and determine the correct answer rather than relying on a cue to determine the answer.

  3. anonymous
    • 4 years ago
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    Exactly. That's why I think it was such a good question! There are those red herrings embedded in the sentence, which forces you to really think through how the words respectively function. Not just whether they are present.

  4. MaryM
    • 4 years ago
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    Thanks, thanks, thanks! Unfortunately, public schools here in the Czech Republic can't afford to hire people who are grammarians, so we do the best we can with native speakers and some Czechs with advanced degrees. So we always have a mish-mash of opinions. The sentence wasn't intentionally planted with red herrings; it was "just the way a native speaker speaks." Anyway, extra medals to you both! Thanks again!

  5. anonymous
    • 4 years ago
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    Ah! Well, it served very well as a sentence designed to ferret out functionality. :) Ask away . . . there are many of us here who would be happy to help. Your English is very fluent, by the way. Are you actually a nonnative speaker?

  6. MaryM
    • 4 years ago
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    Thanks, it's heartening to know there's such good help and it's so accessible. No, I am a native speaker -- an editor and journalist, actually -- but I've lived in Prague since 1995 and my English has started to erode!

  7. anonymous
    • 4 years ago
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    lol . . . well, it doesn't show. And I imagine your Czech has dramatically improved. :) Yeah, Open Study is pretty cool. I've only just recently discovered it myself. Gotta dash for a meeting. Ciao . . .

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