Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Third Conditional Fragments

Watch this video clip from Whatever Works, directed by Woody Allen. This clip is entitled Should Haves and Could Haves, as it focuses on what should have been or could have been. In other words it considers imaginary or alternative past times and events that didn't actually take place. It includes language expressing regret at lost opportunities, such as, "If only I had bought that stock" (I would have /could have been a millionaire by now) This third conditional structure is suggested in the clip but the second clause (in brackets, above) is not spoken.  The first phrase "If only.." is sufficient to tell us that missed opportunities are the key purpose of speech.

The third conditional sentence structure is a highly complex language structure and the concept that it describes is equally complex. Upper intermediate to advanced EFL learners should be able to manage the language aspects of this clip, but without a context such an audience may be lost as to the true meaning.  As with any clip, explanations or a summary of the film as a whole would provide a foundation for understanding the real meaning of the words.

Watch the whole film or see reviews for it by clicking the image below.

See more reviews and films from the same director, Woody Allen, by clicking the image below.

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