Imperfects of μπορώ
I'm having a bit of trouble understanding why, in a sentence like "Θα μπορούσες να με βοηθήσεις;" we use the imperfect of μπορώ rather than a future tense of it.
I know we do a similar thing for "θα ήθελα να..." but I really don't know the reason why.
My grasp of grammar in both En and El is still very shaky, but I understand the imperfect as expressing an ongoing action which took place in the past, ie, "I was running". I don't understand how we can apply that to something that hasn't taken place yet.
If someone was able to help me out, I'd much appreciate it.
Θα+imperfect results in "would". I would like=Θα ήθελα, You would do it=Θα το έκανες, He would love it!=Θα το λάτρευε!, If the day was good, we would run=Εάν η ημέρα ήταν καλή,θα τρέχαμε etc etc. I think that would+can in english is actually "could". So: Could you help me?=Θα μπορούσες να με βοηθήσεις;
Will you be able to help me?=Θα μπορέσεις να με βοηθήσεις; (future simple)
[Dim lightbulb in my brain gets a bit brighter]
Thanks so much as always Troll.
So, it's like... we use the imperfect for future things that may or may not happen, but the use the future simple for things that will definitely happen and/or be completed in the future?
Eg "Θα μπορούσες να με βοηθήσεις;" is like 'could you help me?', with the possibility that you may or may not help me, depending on your mood, or the difficulty of my situation, or some other factor.
But Θα μπορέσεις να με βοηθήσεις is more like 'you will help me?' with only an implied 'yes/no'? In other words, we're not implying that there is some outside factor which could affect your decision?
Or... Θα ήθελα is like "I would like..." with an implied "[if it's not too much trouble]", or "[if you have any in stock]", or something like that.
But θα θελήσω is like "I will want"? As in, it doesn't matter what else is going on - there's nothing else implied. It's just.. in the future, "I will want", and nothing will change that.
Sorry for the bother, it's just that I never learnt any formal English grammar when I was younger, so it does make it a bit harder to understand what's going on in Greek!
Generally what you said is correct. I would like to state (you probably got that but I want to make sure) that we don;t use the imperfect for something in the future, we use Θα+imperfect to form the polite asking with "would" or the present conditional (as you call it in english) that has the same uses as in english.
So, Θα ήθελα μία κούπα τσάι=I would like a cup of tea (now)
Εάν είχα κουραστεί, θα ήθελα μία κούπα τσάι=If i were tired, I would like a cup of tea. (type 2 conditional)
Μετά το διάβασμα, θα θελήσω μία κούπα τσάι=After reading, I will want a cup of tea (I know beforehand that after reading I will definitely want a cup of tea)
Awesome. That's becoming much clearer to me now. Many thanks once again for your help.
On Language Transfer "Complete Greek" this is taught in track 65 you can listen to it on youtube here:
or you can just listen to it on the Language Transfer website:
This "Complete Greek" course has so far for me been extremely helpful in getting a grasp on sentence structure in Greek. I hope everyone trying to learn modern Greek at least knows of its existence.