As a contribution to research into conditional constructions, this article presents a novel analysis of the Modern Dutch construction defined by the conditional conjunction mits 'provided that', a less frequent subordinating conjunction that differs in meaning from the main conditional conjunctions als and indien (both 'if'). Using examples from a corpus of 300 text passages containing the construction, we discuss its syntactic and semantic characteristics. It is found that clauses introduced by mits are only appended as a condition to matrix expressions that imply the existence of some specific desirability. We discuss the general viability of the notion of desirability for grammatical analysis. In the interpretation of each instance of a mits-construction, the precise identity of the desirability concerned has to be determined, as well as its locus. This process makes knowledge available about a specific balance of interests of the communicators and other concerned parties. The Dutch mits-construction is thus found to lead the interpreter to understand details of configurations of diverging interests. © Society for Germanic Linguistics.