songbird singing on a branchHello, book lovers! Today I’d like to share with you a hodgepodge of tips and reminders.

TIPS: Articles for Lifelong Learners

I am excited to announce that I have added a new page to my website called Tips. It’s in the navigation bar at the top of every page. Here I will offer various articles for lifelong learners. Because these articles are written for specific audiences, each of them may or may not be applicable to you. Thus, I will periodically share with you their existence as I write them, but I will not include them in their entirety in blog posts. That way, if the subject of a particular article interests you, you can click through and read it; but if it is not applicable to you, you will not be burdened by its appearance in your inbox. Here are the first two articles I have posted there:

TIPS: If Statements

Irene commented on my post If vs Whether: Grammar at Work that she would be interested to learn about “if statements” that are contrary to fact and “if statements” that use the subjunctive mood.

  • “If statements” can be grammatically correct, and yet be false. For example, take the following sentence: If you decide to go to the theater tonight, (then) I will see you there. According to the sentence’s grammar, which is correct, I will definitely see you at the theater in the case that you decide to go. (The sentence says nothing about what will happen if you decide not to go.) Even though this sentence is grammatically correct, I could say this and yet have no intention of going anywhere near the theater tonight. The sentence could also be false in other ways—for example, we could both end up at the theater but not see each other.
  • “If statements” often use the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood communicates that something is imaginary or unreal. For example, take the following sentence: If I were to adopt a dog, (then) I would walk my dog every day. This is the subjunctive mood because I am speaking hypothetically about adopting a dog; it is something I am imagining doing, but is not a reality. Once again, though this sentence is grammatically correct, I could be telling the truth, I could be lying, or I could be trying to tell the truth but actually be wrong. One interesting fact about the subjunctive mood in English is that some of its verb forms have fallen out of use over the centuries. People today often substitute was for the technically correct were in such sentences: If I was to adopt a dog . . . And take this famous Shakespeare line (the opening words of Twelfth Night): “If music be the food of love, play on.” Today we would use is instead of be, and that would be perfectly correct. Confusing, right?
REMINDER: Enter the Contest!

I once again invite you to enter the second contest of this blog! It ends one week from today, so you still have time to enter! Click here to see the contest details. Thank you so much for your support!

REMINDER: Daylight Savings Time

Don’t forget (if you live in certain areas of the world, including much of the U.S.) to move your clocks forward on Sunday!

I hope you enjoyed this little mélange of thoughts. Happy Friday!

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