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  1. #1
    gchman is offline Junior Member
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    Exclamation subjunctive mood

    Hello there.

    Are these senteces technically correct?

    If I took the bus, I would now be at home.
    If I were you, I would not have said such nonsense.


    Please help me.

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    Default Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    Hello there.

    Are these senteces technically correct?

    If I took the bus, I would now be at home.
    If I were you, I would not have said such nonsense.


    Please help me.
    Yes, they are.

    If I took the bus, I would now be at home. - This means that you don't usually take the bus - It's not your habit. The time reference is present - imagining something about how things are at present. This is called the second conditional.


    If I were you, I would not have said such nonsense. - This is a mixed conditional because there is a reference to the present and a reference to the past.

    If I were you - I'm not you, never have been you, and never will be you.

    I would not have said such nonsense. - You said it. I didn't because I'm not you, but if I were you, and I'm not, I would not have said it.
    Last edited by PROESL; 09-Aug-2009 at 06:00.

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    Hello there.

    Are these senteces technically correct?

    If I took the bus, I would now be at home.
    If I were you, I would not have said such nonsense.


    Please help me.
    I would be inclined, with the first one, to say "If I had taken the bus, I would now be at home". That's because the second half of the sentence appears to refer to something quite recent, and that only happened once.

    "If I took the bus" would more logically be followed by something like "I would get home earlier" - a more general statement.

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    Smile Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I would be inclined, with the first one, to say "If I had taken the bus, I would now be at home". That's because the second half of the sentence appears to refer to something quite recent, and that only happened once.

    "If I took the bus" would more logically be followed by something like "I would get home earlier" - a more general statement.
    I wouldn't say that's not necessarily so. The first half of the sentence could, and does in this case, refer to something that is an ongoing state or condition. We have to consider that one may not be in the habit of taking the bus or that one may not take the bus regularly or at all.

    If I took the bus - This means I don't take the bus.

    I would be home now - This means I'm not home now. I'm not home now because I don't take the bus, and now here I am stuck in this traffic. I think I'll start taking the bus.

    Here's another example.

    If you lived here, you'd be home now.

    If you lived here - You don't live here.

    You'd be home now - You're not home now because you don't live here.

    If you didn't drink so much beer, you wouldn't feel sick every Sunday morning. - You always drink a lot, and you always feel sick on Sunday morning.

    If you had not drunk so much beer last night, you wouldn't feel so sick now. - You drank a lot, and now you feel sick.

    If you hadn't drunk so much beer last night, you wouldn't have fallen asleep during the movie. - You drank a lot of beer, and you fell asleep.


  5. #5
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I would be inclined, with the first one, to say "If I had taken the bus, I would now be at home". That's because the second half of the sentence appears to refer to something quite recent, and that only happened once.

    "If I took the bus" would more logically be followed by something like "I would get home earlier" - a more general statement.
    I agree. "If I had taken the bus," is a more correct sequence of tenses.
    "If I took the bus", I understand, is common within parts of the United States in this context, since they have a tendency to use the simple past occasionally for both the present perfect and the past perfect meanings.

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    Default Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I agree. "If I had taken the bus," is a more correct sequence of tenses.
    "If I took the bus", I understand, is common within parts of the United States in this context, since they have a tendency to use the simple past occasionally for both the present perfect and the past perfect meanings.
    I would, however, consider that one is overlooking the fact that it may not be one's habit to take the bus at all, in which case "if I took the bus" would make sense and be the logical thing to say. In other words, one does not have to interpret this sentence as a sequence of events. It could be just as likely or unlikely for one to say "if I had taken the bus" when one does not ever take the bus in the first place. With this in mind, saying "if I took the bus", given the proper context, would be logical and make sense.

    It's true that oftentimes in US English one might hear something like "if I did" in place of "If I had done". However, without context, there is no way to say that this is what is happening in the example sentence provided by the poster.

    One must not overlook looking reading the sentence in this way.

    If I took the bus - This sentence means thatI never take the bus, I don't take the bus, and it's not simply not my habit to take the bus.

    I would be home now - I'm not home now because I don't take the bus; I never take the bus. If I took the bus (as my normal way of getting to work) I would be home now, and I wouldn't be stuck in traffic. I think I'll start taking the bus.

    If I took the bus, I would be home. This makes perfect sense when one considers that it's not one's habit to ever take the bus.

    If you got more sleep, you wouldn't feel so tired. You never get enough sleep.

    If you went to be bed earlier, you wouldn't feel so tired. You never go to bed earlier.

    If you didn't eat so much, you would be in better health. - You always eat too much.

    These above example sentences don't have to indicate a series of events. The last example sentence especially does not indicate a series of events because one's health is a state which is related to one's regular habit of eating too much. Therefore, using the simple past form - second form - to indicate one's regular habit at present is the most logical choice, just as saying "if I took the bus" could be a logical choice depending on whether or not in context one is speaking of the regular habit of not taking the bus, or one particular instance of not taking the bus. If we can be sure the speaker is talking about one particular instance of not taking the bus, then "if I had taken the bus" is correct. Just the same, one may easily use the former interpretation of this sentence, which would then make "If I took the bus, I'd be home now" a logical sentence. Once again, it's not necessary to read this sentence as a series of events. Only context would tell us that it was a series of events.

    1) If I took the bus, I'd be home now. - I think I'll start taking the bus, maybe not every day, but when I know there's a lot of traffic going into the city because of a baseball game.

    2) If I exercised more, I'd be in better shape. - I don't exercise enough, I'm not in better shape.

    Both of these sentences need not be read as a series of events, which is why using the past - second form - makes sense and is correct. The first sentence can be easily understood, given the proper context, in the same way that the second sentence is understood.
    Last edited by PROESL; 09-Aug-2009 at 19:59. Reason: mistake

  7. #7
    Soup's Avatar
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    Default Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by gchman View Post
    Hello there.

    Are these sente[n]ces technically correct?

    If I took the bus, I would now be at home.
    If I were you, I would not have said such nonsense.


    Please help me.
    Technically, ... ? As in what we know about 2nd and mixed conditionals? No, the first sentence is awkward as a 2nd conditional. It should be a mixed conditional PAST-PRESENT:

    • If I had taken the bus, I would be home now.
      • But I didn't take the bus in the past and so I am not home right now.

    Note, in American English (AmE), the present perfect is merging with the past simple, which produces sentences like the one you have:

    • If I took the bus, I would be home now.
    I doubt AmE speakers would interpret the sentence above as a 2nd conditional. The reason being, the Result (i.e., I would be home now) refers to the present, not the future, and for that reason it would be interpreted as a mixed conditional.

  8. #8
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    It would, however, consider that one is overlooking the fact that it may not be one's habit to take the bus at all, in which case "if I took the bus" would make sense and be the logical thing to say.

    Perhaps, but I think the most probable intended meaning is "If I had taken the bus this one time ..." I concede that you can construct a situation in which the simple past is more correct.

    If we can be sure the speaker is talking about one particular instance of not taking the bus, the "if I had taken the bus" is correct.
    I agree.
    The OP will know what he meant, and can decide which form is appropriate for his needs.

  9. #9
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Technically, ... ? As in what we know about 2nd and mixed conditionals? No, the first sentence is awkward as a 2nd conditional. It should be a mixed conditional PAST-PRESENT:
    Hi Soup,
    Do you read previous posts before you reply? PROESL has just given a detailed argument against this reading; you seem to be ignoring the thread completely. This must be confusing to the OP. I note you do this quite a lot. Have you considered reading a thread before replying, just to make sure? The OP must be in doubt now as to whether you are rejecting PROESL's argument (unlikely), or you haven't bothered to read it.
    Do you remember the extended misunderstanding you subjected us both to when I first joined 12 months ago - caused by your not reading the thread? I see this happening a lot with your posts. This isn't meant as a criticism. I just think it would be more helpful all round if you didn't just ignore what had already been said before you reply.
    No big deal, of course.

  10. #10
    Soup's Avatar
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    Default Re: subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Hi Soup,
    Do you read previous posts before you reply?
    Yes. I read all the posts that appear on my screen.

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