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  1. #1
    shabani is offline Member
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    Default another conditional?

    Hi everyone,
    I just saw this conditional sentence in a movie subtitle I'm not sure whether it's correct or not: "And none of this would have happened if it hadn't have been for that shirt".
    If it's correct, what kind of role does "have" play here?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: another conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by shabani View Post
    Hi everyone,
    I just saw this conditional sentence in a movie subtitle I'm not sure whether it's correct or not: "And none of this would have happened if it hadn't have been for that shirt".
    If it's correct, what kind of role does "have" play here?

    Thanks in advance.
    It's not natural. I would expect: "None of this would have happened if it hadn't been for that shirt."
    You'll also hear "if it hadn't had been" and I'll be totally honest, when I hear that, I really don't know if it sounds correct or not but not "if it hadn't have been".

  3. #3
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: another conditional?

    Quote Originally Posted by shabani View Post
    "And none of this would have happened if it hadn't have been for that shirt".
    If it's correct, what kind of role does "have" play here?
    Although this is 'incorrect' in terms of all the accepted ideas of tense/aspect formation, it is commonly heard in speech (especially as 'hadn't've + past participle) and, and you will see it in informal writing. In writing, it sometimes appears as 'hadn't of', a reflection of the way it's normally said.

    I have heard arguments that 'Had(n't have)...' is so common that it should be accepted as part of the grammar of modern English. At the moment, however, it is not accepted, so try not to use it, especially in writing. It will be marked as a mistake in examinations.

    Incidentally, British speakers tend to interpret the spoken 'If I'd've' ...' as 'If I had have'. American speakers, in my experience, tend to interpret it as 'if I would have ...'.

    ps. I don't agree with emsr2d2 on this. I think that it does sound natural to many speakers.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: another conditional?

    I agree with the post above, but would also point out that mistakes in subtitles are not uncommon.

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