If-conditionals in Authentic Corpus-based English

Supakorn Phoocharoensil


This research paper focuses on an investigation of if-conditional structures in naturally-occurring American English. The corpus-based analysis has revealed several alternative grammatical constructions, all of which occurred with higher frequency than the three traditional main types, which actually accounted for less than half of the entire if-conditional occurrences in the corpus, included in most ELT textbooks, lending support to previous studies (e.g. Gabrielatos, 2006, 2013). The study, furthermore, also discovered a current trend in native English speakers’ grammar, i.e. the preponderance of was over were in the second conditional, despite the fact that pedantic, prescriptive grammarians would disallow was in this if-clause type, which accords with Novogradec (2009). It is also very interesting to find dominant features of spoken English in connection with if-conditionals, namely gonna and other contractions, false starts, ellipses, and fillers. The last section pertains to pedagogical implications, offering some useful advice for teachers to incorporate authentic corpus-informed if-patterns into their instruction.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/res.v6n3p62

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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