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Past Hypotheticals 2

Analyzing errors in an accident

Titanic
 

 

What Caused the Titanic to Sink?

CONDITIONS LEADING TO THE ACCIDENT

When we reflect on a past accident, we analyze (look closely at) the conditions so that we can understand what we needed to do to avoid the accident.  Read the following conditions and determine what errors were made.

Speed - The Titanic was trying to beat a trans-Atlantic time crossing record.

Lifeboats - The Titanic had lifeboats and preservers for less than half of the people on board

HYPOTHETICAL CAUSE - EFFECT STATEMENTS

Hypothetical past statements are not factual (untrue). The statement in the clause after if did not occur. These conditional structures express what we could have done to avoid or change the events of a tragedy.

If the Captain had cruised at a lower speed and postponed setting a 'crossing' record, the watchmen might have spotted the iceberg in time.

If the White Star Line had included more life boats on the Titanic, all the people could have survived.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past Unreal Conditional  (Hypothetical)

Tense Structure

 

 

 

Conditional Tense Structure 

HAD + PAST PARTICIPLE

In a past unreal (untrue) conditional structure, the verb in the condition statement, the clause after if, takes the form of a past perfect verb.

If Jack had seen the iceberg, 
(the hero in the Titanic movie)

If Rose had known  it,
(the main character in the Titanic movie)

If Molly had talked any longer,
(a character in the movie)

If Cal had been a better man, 
(the villain in the movie)

MODAL + HAVE + PARTICIPLE

The verb in the effect-clause, the main clause, takes the form of would have, could have, should have , or might have + participle.

he would have told the captain.

she could have left him earlier.

she would have put everyone to sleep.

he might have acted in a kinder manner.

 

if — heads an adjunct prepositional phrase that takes a clause (and a few other word forms) as its complement. The condition "clause" is actually a prepositional phrase (PP). Call me if you are ready. Call me if necessary. I rarely, if ever, call them..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past Unreal Conditional (Hypothetical)

Punctuation

 

 

 

INITIAL CLAUSE POSITION  

commaA comma separates the condition, a prepositional phrase headed by if, from the main clause when it is placed before the main clause.

If we had known the movie was long, we would have gotten some popcorn.

If we had gotten here earlier, we could have found better seats. 

 FINAL CLAUSE POSITION

no commaNo comma is used when the adjunct prepositional phrase with if is placed after the main clause.

We would have gotten some popcorn if we had known the movie was long.

We could have found better seats if we had gotten here earlier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

Analysis: looking at the whole situation

lifeboats
 

 

Read the Context

When we analyze a catastrophe such as the sinking of the Titanic, we look closely at the errors that lead to the disaster.

  • ship design
  • speed of Titanic
  • number of lifeboats
  • use of binoculars
  • angle of impact
  • emergency response time of Titanic crew
  • emergency response of other ships
  • number of people in lifeboats
  • accessibility of lifeboats (to all classes)
  • assuming Titanic to be "unsinkable"
 

 

 

Determine which verb forms logically complete the hypothetical statement.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the answer by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 1-10" button.

 

1.

2.

3.
 

4.
 

5.

6.
 

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10.
 

tempt fate (expression) – provoke — bring on the " evil eye"