Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Grammar Guide
Conditional Tense—If/Were/Would

Many writers of term papers and thesis papers run into the problem of when to use conditional voice. When is it acceptable to use the conditional form of the verb? If it were appropriate, it would be obvious, don’t you think? The formula or equation to apply to your sentence is this:

If…(subject here)…were...(more predicate here)…(secondary subject here)…would…(remainder of clause here).

Here’s an example from the pages of Choices Meant for Gods, when the ruffian Henry Bakerson teases the young Kaylin Taiman in front of his friend, Nigel Taiman.

Henry gave Kaylin a wink. “If I were twenty years younger, I believe I’d have to marry you.”

Do you remember Jeremiah, the bullfrog from “Joy to the World”? Well, there’s a line in that song that has the surprising characteristic of being (mostly) grammatically correct: If I were the king of the world, I’d tell you what I’d do. Pure poetry.

Try your hand at it! Use the comment field today to give me some conditional examples. The wackier, the better. (and I bet you sing “Joy to the World” the rest of the day…)

(Sandy Lender has been an editor in the magazine publishing industry for fifteen years and is the author of the new fantasy novel Choices Meant for Gods, available from

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”

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