Thursday, February 7

If Not For You




image courtesy of stock.xchng



Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. So, our topic today is the lyrics of a romantic song.



But before that, let’s have a quick review…



What is a Conditional?



Conditional is basically the same as the If Clause (a clause with “If”).  It talks about a condition that must be true before something can happen.



Take a look:



If I see him, I’ll talk to him.



In our example, the event “I’ll talk to him” will happen only if the condition is true ( i.e. “If I see him”).



If not, then the event or action will not happen. This is the reason it’s called the Conditional.





(If you want to learn more about Conditionals, just clink the links below:







Once you become familiar with the Conditional, you will know that it’s composed of two parts: (1) the If Clause and (2) the Main Clause. Like this:



If Clause + Main Clause


Ex.


If I join the party, I won’t be able to do my homework.

If she sees this, she will be very upset.

If he doesn’t give an answer by tomorrow, please go ahead.

If I were you, I wouldn’t tell her.

If I had her number, I would call her.

If he didn’t know how to speak English, he wouldn’t survive. 

If they had spent their vacation here, I would have met her.



Of course you can also switch the Main Clause and the If Clause. This way:



Main Clause + If Clause



I won’t be able to do my homework if I join the party.

She will be very upset if she sees this.

Please go ahead if he doesn’t give an answer by tomorrow.

I wouldn’t tell her if I were you.

I would call her if I had her number.

He wouldn’t survive if he didn’t know how to speak English

I would have met her if they had spent their vacation here.




“Would” Alone



But did you know that there are ways to make the Conditional other than the 2 patterns that we have above?



First, take a look at the sentences below:



I wouldn’t last a day without music. Music is my life.




image courtesy of stock.xchng



Why do you think the first sentence uses “would”?



Some learners might say that “would” is a polite expression in our example above, that it’s more polite than “will.” But this is true in the case of “would like” etc. 



I wouldn’t last a day without music.



This isn't “would like.” And it’s definitely not Past Tense.



(Other learners might say that “would” is the Past Tense of “will.” This is sometimes true, but not in our example.)




As a matter of fact, “would” is talking about an imaginary situation:



I wouldn’t last a day = I would die



This means that “would” can also be used on its own, even without the If Clause.



Here are other examples:



It would be great to live in the country.

(= In fact, we live in the city)


You mustn’t tell mom about this. She would freak out.

(= If you told her, she’d be so angry)


I wouldn’t buy that shirt.

(= If I were you, I wouldn’t buy the shirt)


I would lay down my life for her.

(= I would die / sacrifice my life for her)



As you can see, you can use “would” even without “If.” Usually though, the situation or meaning should already be clear before we can do this.



Here’s one last example:



Fan # 1: Do you think our idol will walk over here?

Fan # 2: I would scream.




Short Conditionals



Aside from being alone, “would” can also be used with other words or expressions that have similar meanings to “If.”



Yes, that’s right. You can use other words to make the Conditional. For example:  


(1)    if not for

(2)    without



How? How do we do this?



First, let’s take a look at the words of a song. The song is “If Not For You” by Bob Dylan:



This photo by Chris Hakkens is available at <a ref="http://flickr.com/photos/39072523@N02/5109375515">under a <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ph/"> Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0




If not for you,
Babe, I couldn't find the door,
Couldn't even see the floor,
I'd be sad and blue,
If not for you.

If not for you,
Babe, I'd lay awake all night,
Wait for the mornin' light
To shine in through,
But it would not be new,
If not for you.

If not for you
My sky would fall,
Rain would gather too.
Without your love I'd be nowhere at all,
I'd be lost if not for you,
And you know it's true.

If not for you
My sky would fall,
Rain would gather too.
Without your love I'd be nowhere at all,
Oh! What would I do
If not for you.

If not for you,
Winter would have no spring,
Couldn't hear the robin sing,
I just wouldn't have a clue,
Anyway it wouldn't ring true,
If not for you.




Now, if you highlight all the “if not for,” “would,” “could” and “without” :



If not for you,
Babe, I couldn't find the door,

Couldn't even see the floor,

I'd be sad and blue,

If not for you.



If not for you,

Babe, I'd lay awake all night,
Wait for the mornin' light
To shine in through,
But it would not be new,

If not for you.



If not for you

My sky would fall,
Rain would gather too.

Without your love I'd be nowhere at all,

I'd be lost if not for you,
And you know it's true.


If not for you

My sky would fall,
Rain would gather too.

Without your love I'd be nowhere at all,

Oh! What would I do

If not for you.



If not for you,

Winter would have no spring,

Couldn't hear the robin sing,

I just wouldn't have a clue,
Anyway it wouldn't ring true,

If not for you.




As you can see, it’s very natural to use all 4 words together.



Why?



These are the complete sentences of the song:



If it weren’t for you, I couldn’t find the door.

If it weren’t for you, I couldn’t even see the floor.

I’d be sad and blue if it weren’t for you.

If it weren’t for you, I’d lay awake all night.

The morning light would not be new if it weren’t for you.

If it weren’t for you, my sky would fall.

If it weren’t for you, rain would gather too.

Without your love, I would be nowhere at all.

(= If I didn’t have your love, I would be nowhere at all)

What would I do if it weren’t for you?

If it weren’t for you, winter would have no spring.

If it weren’t for you, I couldn’t hear the robin sing.

If it weren’t for you, I just wouldn’t have a clue.

Anyway it wouldn't ring true if it weren’t for you.




If it weren’t for + someone / something” is an idiomatic expression in English which means the situation or result would be different “if there weren't the person or thing.”



So, 


If not for you = If there wasn't you 



Finally, for a Past meaning you could also say:



If it hadn’t been for + someone / something
S + would have + p.p.


Ex.


If it hadn’t been for the brave firefighters, I would’ve died.



This is the third kind of Conditional.





Hope You Learned Something!

Keep on learning !





P.S. Here’s a video of the song from Youtube:














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