Looking at her / To look at her you'd think.....

George Washington

Member
Korean - Korea
Hello, I'm here again.

Let me know the difference between these two sentences;

1. To look at her, you'd think she was a foreigner.

2. Looking at her, you'd think she was a foreigner.

The first sentence represents the meaning "If you looked at her(hypothetical), you'd think she was a foreigner." while the second "If you look at her (possible future), you'd think she was a foreigner. Am I right? Or Those sentences don't have any difference? Thank you for your attention.
 
  • George Washington

    Member
    Korean - Korea
    Thank you, so you mean there is no difference between them, right?
    If so, how can the expression "if you were rich, you could buy that car" be changed? if you were rich = to be rich? if you were rich = being rich?
    or are neither of them acceptable?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes. As I’ve already said, they mean exactly the same thing. And they’re not counterfactual conditionals in the standard sense. They don’t mean you’d see she was a foreigner on condition that you looked at her; they just mean it’s obvious that she is a foreigner – anyone can/could see that just by looking at her.

    Counterfactual conditionals of type II:

    If you were rich (which you’re not), you could buy that car.
    If you could see her (which you can’t), you would agree with me.

    Statements in the conditional mood, whose main clause (modified adverbially) uses a modal verb to express conjecture, opinion, likelihood, etc.:

    To look at her, you would/might think she was a foreigner.
    Looking at her, you would/might think she was a foreigner.
    The same statement in the indicative mood:
    You only have to look at her to see that she’s a foreigner.
    You can see that she’s a foreigner simply by looking at her.
    When you look at her, it’s easy to see that she’s a foreigner.
     
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