I'm not sure about the grammatical category of wish and if-clause. I have found some names like hypothetical sentences, conditional, subjunctive mood. But I don't think they are the academic name for this type of grammatical structure. Does anyone know the name for it?

  • Conditional if expressions are not clauses. They are PPs with "if" as head and a content clause as complement.
    – BillJ
    Nov 3, 2019 at 15:03
  • 1
    Well, yes, but the clause is the important constituent; the P may be disregarded once its introductory duty is done, like a complementizer. As for the question, the distinction between possibility and impossibility is crucial. For the complement of wish, the term is "counterfactual", meaning 'it's not fact; it's imagination'. For if-clauses, they can be counterfactual, and then they get marked with past forms: If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride; but they can also be simply hypothesis: If this place serves coffee, I'm having breakfast here.
    – jlawler
    Nov 3, 2019 at 19:00
  • Oh, and "counterfactual" is not a name for "wish and if-clauses". It's a name for the meaning, not the construction. For instance, there are other verbs that govern counterfactual complements besides wish, and there are some if-clauses that don't.
    – jlawler
    Nov 3, 2019 at 19:03


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