English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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Post by NGUYEN » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:09 pm

Dear Teacher:
A tv advertisement shows the following sentence :
“If you had shingles, the virus is already inside your body”.
Does the author use the zero conditional, a variant of zero conditional or something else. I am confused because the tense combination is neither present + present nor preterite + preterite. Please help. Thank you very much. Respectfully

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Re: Shingles

Post by Alan » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:05 am

It is essentially a variant zero conditional, in which the preterite VP is indicative (not subjunctive), i.e. has real past reference.

An alternative form for this kind of sentence, probably more usual in BrE, would be one using the present perfect rather than the preterite, i.e.

If you HAVE HAD shingles,...