if you build it, they will come / by Anthony Gibbins

This is, by far, the most memorable line from the 1989 film A Field of Dreams, in which Kevin Costner’s character, corn farmer Ray Kinsella, invokes the 1919 Chicago White Sox by building a baseball diamond in his fields. Ray hears a voice telling him that if he builds it, they will come. He builds it and *spoiler alert* they come.

If you build it, they will come is an example of a Conditional Sentence. If the condition is met, the outcome will occur. In programming speak - and the last programming I did was with BASIC in 1987 - if x then y. Simple. But I want to talk a little about the Tenses used in this particular Conditional.

It stands to reason that the White Sox will not come until after the field is built. Latin has a way of making this very clear - in a way that is far more precise than English. The Latin sentence is the equivalent of if you will have built it, they will come. Nice, yes? If you will have built it… There is, of course, a Tense that specifically means will have built. It is the Future Perfect Tense. Remember, Perfect just means finished. So, this is a Tense that says something will have been finished at some time in the future. Awesome.

The Verb I would use to mean build is aedifico, aedificare, aedificavi, aedificatum. The Future Perfect Tense is built - no pun intended - on the Third Principal Part; aedificaveris you will have built. They will come, as you might expect, is just good ol’ simple Future Tense; veniemus they will come. si id aedificaveris, illi venient if you will have built it, they will come.

There is a Conditional Sentence of this type on today’s page. The Condition contains two Future Perfect Verbs; rapueritis if you will have seized and dederitis if you will have given. If and when, Hadrian says, these two conditions have been met, I myself will bring a suitcase to you. feram I will bring is in the good ol’ Future Tense.

Make a journey to the town and visit the bank. If you seize this gem and give it to me, I myself will bring a suitcase to you.