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  5. "Als er geen zon zou zijn, zo…

"Als er geen zon zou zijn, zou leven niet mogelijk zijn."

Translation:If there were no sun, life would not be possible.

December 26, 2014



Am I the only one who finds this difficult!!? Also, it should have been mentioned somewhere in the tips that zou/zouden could be used in both parts of the sentence, or am I missing something?


I'm really struggling with this one too!


I also find it confusing, especially since this site gives a different rule on how to form these sentences. http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.re22 Could someone please explain this? Can I use the conditional in both clauses or not?


Are you essentially asking when to use something such as:

  • Als er geen zon was, zou leven niet mogelijk zijn.


  • Als er geen zon zou zijn, zou leven niet mogelijk zijn.



That really helped me understand the first half! I sort of understand the second half anyway so at least I can see where this sentence comes from now, thanks!


Glad I could help! \^_^

The first sentence is essentially saying:

  • If there had been (in the past, previously) no sun THEN 'life would not be possible'.

The second sentence:

  • If there were/were to be/would be (subjunctive) no sun THEN 'life would not be possible'.


I see, so it's like "if there were in general no sun". One of the hard bits of learning a language is how ambiguous English is (which I've never noticed before) and having to figure out what I really mean.


"In English, the subjunctive mood is used to explore conditional or imaginary situations." http://grammarist.com/grammar/subjunctive-mood/


Not in English.


This sentence is using the subjunctive mood in the dependent clause after 'als', which, while largely no longer a thing in English, seems to still be in use in Dutch, albeit in a different form from the way it was formed in English.


"If there were no sun," is the subjunctive in English. It's true that it's tending to disappear in English, but it is still used in phrases such as this one.


The problem is that it is applied hapazardly in the Engligh translations in the Dutch unit. There are other conjectural or counterfactual clauses where Duo requires the English indicative translation. Granted, these are obscure and tortuous shades of meaning in both languages.


If there were no hints, this lesson would not be possible. (for me)


Why is "zouden" used in both sentences? Shouldn't it rather be "Als er geen zon was, zou leven niet mogelijk zijn"?


I'm presuming zou/zouden is was/were/would and so it is used twice due to the fact that it says: if there were no sun, life would not be possible


It should also be possible to say "if there is no sun, life would be impossible", or am i totally mistaken?


It is wrong, you can say "if there would be no sun, life wouldn't be possible


if there is no sun, life is impossible

But you can"t use them together


Both those examples are wrong. You can't say either of them in (correct) English.


Why not "If there was no sun, life would be impossible"? Help!


In cases of 'present contrary to fact' one should use the subjunctive. That means that in all such 'if' cases one must write 'were' and not 'was' (If I were, if you were, if he/she/it were...). True, you will often find the usage 'If ... was' (even among the Duolingo experts!), but grammarians still consider this incorrect, although it has become common in vernacular US English.


You're absolutely right, and I have always known that. But, with the general dumbing down of English, esp. by US influence (for example by not forming adverbs from adjectives, as in "you sang amazing" instead of "you sang amazingly" and other areas of laziness in grammar, spelling, and punctuation), I had assumed this was perhaps another instance of misuse that was becoming the norm. I'm all for preserving the full expressiveness of English even if others aren't sensitive to its subtleties.


so does this mean that when you are making a conditional, the structure like "zouden zijn" could be used in both part of the sentence? I mean in English usually it's like were+would be or had done+would have done, the "would" dont usually go to both part. by the way what should i say if i want to mean "i would have done"? thanks~


Question: Why is this incorrect?: "If there wouldn't be a sun, life would not be possible."?


'If there were no sun, life would be impossible', is the correct version in English, = subjunctive mood followed by conditional tense. Your sentence would never be said.


It's against English grammar. In proper English the first conditional sentence type is: IF + Present Simple + Future Tense (will); the second conditional sentence type: IF + Past Simple + Conditional (would); and the third conditional sentence type: IF + Past Perfect + Past Conditional.


is impossible not the same as not possible?


Generally, the meaning might be the same, but it's important to translate words and phrases as precisely as the two languages allow. On another occasion, you might need to alter the meaning of "not possible" / "niet mogelijk" by turning it into something like "It is not only possible, but even desirable" / "Het is niet alleen mogelijk, maar zelfs gewenst", which you can't do with 'impossible' / 'onmogelijk'.


The if-part never contains "would etc", the other part does. It is implied stricktly, as all computers do!


I think this reply is the clearest for non-English speakers, I award a lingot!


Strictly speaking not good English - it should be subjunctive - If there were no sun, life would be impossible - or - if there had been no sun life would have been impossible. So - is zou zijn subjunctive here, or can you have two conditionals in one sentence in Dutch? Not the case in English (or Italian, which I'm also studying.)


German would use a double conditional in this case, so I'm left to think the same is true for closely-related Dutch.

English uses the subjunctive mood, which no longer exists in Dutch, so they have their own grammar convention.


The word 'zon' is not correctly pronounced. It is pronounced if it was zo'n instead of zon


It took me a while to figure it out. I wrote "If there would be no sun, no life would be possible." It seems ok for me, but it's not accepted.


The conditional is not used this way in English, unlike Dutch, French, etc. The subjunctive is used in such "if" clauses (though it is tending to disappear in favour of the indicative). "In English, 'would' can only occur in the then-clause. A sentence like: "If I would..., then I would..." is not considered proper English: We cannot use the conditional tense on both sides of the comma." http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.Re22


Thanks for the reply, and sorry for the confusion. You're right, I made a mistake in the comment, but not the same mistake as in the original solution. I wanted to point out that "no life would be possible." could be accepted.


As opposed to silverthornfire, I don't think there's a problem with "if there were no sun, no life would be possible". It's just that it says something slightly different, and is not as accurate a translation.


That sounds a little clunky to me as a native English (British) speaker given that the first phrase also used no and we were always taught not to repeat words in the same sentence.


At least Poltomin uses the subjunctive 'were' which is the most important point here.


"If - then situations

For the verbs in the if-clause, the English often use the subjunctive (not 'he was' but 'he were').

Dat zou ik niet doen als ik jou was. I would not do that if I were you. Als hij niet zo verlegen was, zou hij meer vrienden hebben. If he were not so shy, he would have more friends." http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Verbs.Re22


You can't have 2 woulds, ie, following the 'If' part AND in the next part - in an English sentence at any rate, and I wouldn't have thought in Dutch either..


Why not "life would be not possible"?


sorry but i think that your phrase is also wrong in english, this is the correct one: life would not be possible.


I figured it out; but do not understand why they wouldn't accept "If there would be no sun, no life would be possible."... Granted the translation THEY SHOW puts it in subjunctive... If there were... but this structure could well be translated "If there would be ... " (both are saying the same). I think "If there would be no sun, no life would be possible." is an adequate translation; but I suppose--in hindsight, I should have realized the "niet" restricts me to using "not"... and not "no"... hence while not exact.. it does relate the same meaning. Ahh this does get a bit complicated at this level :)


"If there were" is not the same as "If there would be", which is simply incorrect. (Cf. my remark and that of chartsman above as well as Howard's below.) Being that your name is in German, let me give you a parallel. Correct are: "Gäbe es keine Sonne..." and "Wenn es keine Sonne gäbe", but not "Wenn es keine Sonne geben würde...". Remember the expression "Wenn ist würdelos." Similarly, In English an "If" does not allow a "would".


Onkel - You can't have the conditional (would) after a clause beginning 'if'. You have to use the subjunctive. The 'would' comes in the next part of the sentence.

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