--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Paul A. Tanner III" <uprho@...> wrote:
> But is it? All I'm saying is that after seeing students (including when > I was a student) struggle and struggle with trying to make sense of the > conditional, and teachers trying and trying to explain it, I kept > asking myself, "Why doesn't the teacher just change the tense of the > verb?" Is is really less simple language to use a tense other than the > present tense? We have children pretend things all the time, using the > counterfactual tense. Example: As a creative writing exercise, we could > have them fill in the blank in "If I were a bird, then _____." I don't > see that it's necessarily more simple and more appropriate language to > use the present tense, and ask, "If I am a bird, then _____." > > Another example, in the math realm: Which question would more likely > cause less of a problem for students, the first one using the > counterfactual tense, or the second one using the present tense? (1) If > Earth's radius were the same as Jupiter's, then what would be Earth's > circumference? (1) If Earth's radius is the same as Jupiter's, then > what is Earth's circumference? > > Paul >
Yesterday or two days ago I wrote a long response and it seems it didn't go through the system. Now I'll be concise (ah...bless the system).
I agree that in your examples we should use the counterfactual tense because it is the right tense to use for the situation discussed.
I was referring to simple word problems such as: Sara had some cookies. If 9 were taken..." with the point being that instead we can say "9 were taken..." to simplify it for students, or teach them to drop the if for simplicity.