if that were OR if that is a possibility

In the following if sentence I am uncertain about the correct time. I am asking a Professor if it even makes sense for me to apply since I am actually not 100% eligible for the Position.

...., I would like to ask you first if there is even a chance for my application to be considered. It would mean a lot to me if that is/were a possibility and I would be happy to supply my application along with my references during this week.

I am happy about any suggestions!

Comments

  • clemetti, since this is in writing, it's better not to use is.

    Grammatically, TENSE isn't the same as time. We sometimes use the PAST TENSE to talk about something that is in the present time but not in an ordinary way. Sometime we use PAST tense to sound polite. Sometimes we use it for a hypothetical situation.

    I think your letter wants to do both.

    • I would like to ask you is a polite formula for a request using the PAST TENSE of will (even though you are making the request is in present time

    • I would be happy to supply my application is a polite formula for an offer (for an action in future time) and also hypothetical, since you'll only supply them if your professor advises you that it's OK.

    So your problem clause should also use polite PAST TENSE. Normally, that would be if there was a possibility, and that's what we'd probably use in speech. But in formal writing we often use were in sentences like this. It's one of the few survivals of the SUBJUNCTIVE in English.

    However, I think your letter might be better without that clause.

    _I would like to ask you first if there is even a chance for my application to be considered. This would mean a lot to me. _
    or
    _I would like to ask you first if there is even a chance for my application to be considered, which would mean a lot to me. _

    The next bit is conditional, so I think you could make it clearer. But it's not a what we call an UNREAL CONDITION. So I think you can use PRESENT TENSE including the PRESENT of will .

    If you think there is a possibility, I will be happy to supply my application along with my references ...

    I wouldn't use during. In speech, we might say simply this week. In a formal letter I'd prefer in the course of this week.

    Note
    I assume you're offering to send your application and references to the same professor — the one that you're writing to. If you're writing about sending them somewhere else, I don't think you should use I will be happy to.

  • Thank you very much for your sophisticated advice DavidCrosbie!

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