Results 1 to 4 of 4

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 7
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    Smile unreal conditionals of past - tense problem -

    Hi all,

    I have a grammatical question about unreal conditionals. When you talk about "if" in the past, you'll use unreal conditionals, like this:

    If you had hurried more, you wouldn't have been late for the class.

    The event in the if-clause didn't actually happen, so I will use unreal conditionals of past; past perfect in the if-clause, and "would + present perfect" in the main clause. Unreal conditional of past describes the past "if" which affects the subsequent past event, right?

    Now my question is, which tense do you use in the main clause when you want to describe the unreal past which affects the present instead of the past?

    For example, suppose you didn't hurry enough to school this morning and you were late for school. NOW you're being rebuked by the principal. Which of the following sentences explains the situation?

    (a) If I had had hurried more, I wouldn't have been scolded now.
    (b) If I had had hurried more, I wouldn't be scolded now.


    I've seen only the combination of past perfect in if-clause and "would + past perfect" in main clause. I'm wondering if "would + present perfect" could represent the present affected by unreal past as well.

    Thank you in advance.

    - Ricky319


    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 57
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: unreal conditionals of past - tense problem -

    Possibly "I wouldn't be being scolded now."


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 19
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: unreal conditionals of past - tense problem -

    Quote Originally Posted by ricky319 View Post
    Now my question is, which tense do you use in the main clause when you want to describe the unreal past which affects the present instead of the past?

    For example, suppose you didn't hurry enough to school this morning and you were late for school. NOW you're being rebuked by the principal. Which of the following sentences explains the situation?

    (a) If I had had hurried more, I wouldn't have been scolded now.
    (b) If I had had hurried more, I wouldn't be scolded now.

    I'd use (b).


    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 7
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: unreal conditionals of past - tense problem -

    Hi cclaff & acorn,

    Thank you for your reply. According to your answer, "would" seems to be used for the present (and maybe future, too) result which is caused by the unreal conditional no matter if the unreal conditional is past or present.

    If I understand wrong, please tell me.

    -Ricky319

Similar Threads

  1. Problems with the past tense
    By thomasRavenelli in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 25-Nov-2007, 03:39
  2. past tense problem
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-Jan-2007, 20:27
  3. Can have + past participle, Please HELP HELP HELP Guys
    By Preslang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 25-Dec-2006, 16:23
  4. Can have + past participle #2
    By riverkid in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 28-Nov-2006, 07:54
  5. Past tense
    By Amy in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-Nov-2004, 10:50

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •