Learn the art of speaking hypothetically


Have you heard of the proverb, ‘if wishes were horses, beggars would ride’? This is a perfect example of what hypothesis mean. Speaking hypothetically is an art, and as a spoken English student, it is one of the aspects of English that you need to learn. In your day-to-day English conversations, there will be many instances where you will have to speak hypothetically. Why, you ask? Because when you use hypothetical sentences, it reflects that your grip over the language is very strong and also enhances your English speaking skills. The term ‘hypothetical’ may sound very heavy and complicated to new English learning student, but it is very simple to understand, and after all we are here to help you!

hypothetically speaking

What does ‘hypothetically speaking’ mean?

Hypothetically speaking means to imagine a scenario that may not necessarily exist. It is used for presenting an argument, to explain a theory, or when you simply want to present an example. Speaking hypothetically is when you say, ‘Let’s suppose…’ Here, you are presenting an example, or a situation that does not exist, but you wish to make your audience think about it so that you can present your argument in a better way. Needless to say, using hypothetical sentences enhances your English speaking skills.

Types of hypothetical scenarios

Present hypothetical: This is a form of hypothetical scenario where you are talking about something that could have been in the present. For example, when you say something like, “If I had better grades, I would have tried in that university.” You see what present hypothetical means? Present hypothetical is when you present a scenario that could have happened in the present.

Another example of present hypothetical:

If I had a bigger car, I would have taken all my friends for a long drive.

If the government were more proactive, we would have a lesser crime rate in the country.

Past hypothetical: As the term suggests, past hypothetical is when you speak about an incident from the past. Let’s have a look at an example. “If mom was here, she would have handled the situation in a better way.” From this sentence, we can gather that something has happened already, and we are now thinking how mom would have handled the whole thing in a better way. Past hypothetical serves no constructive purpose, but is just a manner of saying when we talk about a past situation.

Formal hypothetical: This type of hypothetical sentence is when you are extending an offer to help. When you say, “In case of any doubts, you can always contact me.” Here, you do not know whether or not the other person will approach you with their doubts, but you are making sure that he/ he knows that such an option is available.

Another example of formal hypothetical is when you talk about an incident that has already happened. “Had I been in the class then, I would have answered the question for you.”

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- By Chander Madan

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