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  1. #1
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results.

    I had my dinner with my American friends last night, and I asked them several questions.
    Then I said:
    If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results.

    I just uttered these sentences unintentionally, and in retrospect I thought I was wrong and I should have said:

    If I hadn't asked this question, it would make no difference to my academic results.

    because I was saying something in the past, so HADN'T ASKED;

    Does any one of you think I should not change the sentence?

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results

    If I didn't, it wouldn't make a difference.
    If I hadn't, it wouldn't have made a difference.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. #3
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results

    Thank you. But your change, I'm afraid, will alter my original meaning.

    At the dinner I was talking about a past event, so I think I should have used HADN'T ASKED(but I am not perfectly sure, so I have raised this question); and I believe I was correct in using IT WOULD MAKE because this semester has not ended and I was talking about the present situation, so I must not use WOULDN'T HAVE MADE.

  4. #4
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    If I didn't, it wouldn't make a difference.
    If I hadn't, it wouldn't have made a difference.
    Thanks for your correction. But for the red sentence, it is talking about a present or future situation, but I that night was talking about something that had just happened ie a past event, and I don't think I should use DIDN'T.

    Can anyone answer my original question?

  5. #5
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results

    Or is there anyone who thinks it OK because I was just talking about something that happened a few seconds ago?

    I've read other threads in the forum related to conditional sentences but they can't help.

  6. #6
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results

    Several years ago, a ranking official was removed from office.

    A sentence: Many Shanghainese believe it would not have occurred if their city was still pre-eminent.

    I don't understand the logic of this sentence, if it is grammatical:

    WOULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED means a past event, so it is OK, but WAS means a present event, and my interpretation of the sentence is: if Shanghai still has a pre-eminent position at the present time, such a thing would not occur in the past.

    How illogical it is!

    My opinion is that this sentence, in order to be logical, should be rewritten as

    Many Shanghainese believe it would not have occurred if their city had been still pre-eminent.

    Some will say that because Shanghai is still NOT pre-eminent, we have to use WAS but not HAD been; but my opinion is that we are talking about a past event, so whether Shanghai has such a position at the present time is irrelevant.

    Is there any native English speaker who agrees with me?

  7. #7
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson13 View Post
    Several years ago, a ranking official was removed from office.

    A sentence: Many Shanghainese believe it would not have occurred if their city was still pre-eminent.

    I don't understand the logic of this sentence, if it is grammatical:

    WOULD NOT HAVE OCCURRED means a past event, so it is OK, but WAS means a present event, and my interpretation of the sentence is: if Shanghai still has a pre-eminent position at the present time, such a thing would not occur in the past.

    How illogical it is!

    My opinion is that this sentence, in order to be logical, should be rewritten as

    Many Shanghainese believe it would not have occurred if their city had been still pre-eminent.

    Some will say that because Shanghai is still NOT pre-eminent, we have to use WAS but not HAD been; but my opinion is that we are talking about a past event, so whether Shanghai has such a position at the present time is irrelevant.

    Is there any native English speaker who agrees with me?
    There is no problem in theory with the sentence, and none semantically, provided one accepts the reasonable proposition that, this being a recent event, the city's current pre-eminence would naturally date from some earlier time, including the recent past time in question.

  8. #8
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results

    Thank you philo2009.

    I remember last time when we were talking about a conditional sentence your answer could even refute a native speaker's answer.

    May I have your opinion on my original question?(the title of the thread)

    (if there's any part unclear in my original question, please let me know and explain the context)

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results

    It is possible to invent contexts for conditional sentences in which virtually any combinations of tenses are posssible. The first, second, third, zero and mixed conditionals presented by many course books and grammars designed for students are simply what we might call the 'classic' examples.They are useful models for learners in the early days, but sentences which do not conform to these patterns are frequently acceptable - in the right context.

    The two sentences in your original post are possible.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  10. #10
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: If I didn't ask this question, it would make no difference to my academic results

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    It is possible to invent contexts for conditional sentences in which virtually any combinations of tenses are posssible. The first, second, third, zero and mixed conditionals presented by many course books and grammars designed for students are simply what we might call the 'classic' examples.They are useful models for learners in the early days, but sentences which do not conform to these patterns are frequently acceptable - in the right context.

    The two sentences in your original post are possible.
    Thank you.

    I know IF I WAS.... can be regarded as non-standard English (or colloquial)if it is a counterfactual conditional sentence, but how about when the subject is not I, but a city, a car, etc.?

    For example, a sentence: if the country was destroyed by a monster, we would all flee.

    Would it be considered colloquial and be better if change WAS to WERE?

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