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    #1

    Conditionals in past

    If I had been studying that course, I would have/could have completed the course by now.

    If I had been following that strict regime, I would have/could have attained the desirable result by now.

    In both of the above sentences, Which option is better? and why? IF both are ok, Could I please get a brief thought as to why both are correct?

    Thanks in advance,

    Kiran

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    #2

    Re: Conditionals in past

    Quote Originally Posted by kiranlegend View Post
    If I had been studying that course, I would have/could have completed it by now.

    If I had been following that strict regime, I would have/could have attained the desirable result by now.

    In both of the above sentences, Which option is better? and why? IF both are ok, Could I please get a brief thought as to why both are correct?

    Thanks in advance,

    Kiran
    They both are correct, but the meanings are different. "would have" indicates an actual/definite (completion)(result); "could have" is much less definite; it really only indicates the possibility of a (completion)(result).
    Last edited by 2006; 10-Sep-2009 at 21:08. Reason: revision

  1. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Conditionals in past

    In other words, "could have" indicates would have had a chance.


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    #4

    Re: Conditionals in past

    Quote Originally Posted by kiranlegend View Post
    If I had been studying that course, I would have/could have completed the course by now.

    If I had been following that strict regime, I would have/could have attained the desirable result by now.

    In both of the above sentences, Which option is better? and why? IF both are ok, Could I please get a brief thought as to why both are correct?

    Thanks in advance,

    Kiran
    Yes, both are correct and okay. We use "would", "could", and "might" with "have" to express an imaginary result of a past action or event.

    would have done it - This means the result was going to be satisfied with the right condition in the past, but the condition, or conditions, did not exist in the past.

    could have done it - This means it was possibe for the result to be satisfied, but the past condition did not exist to allow it to happen.

    might have done it - This that maybe the result was going to be satisfied but it was made impossible by the fact that the condition did not exist in the past to allow it.

    The phrase "might have done" is similar to "maybe "someone" or "something" might have done".

    The phrase "would have done" is definite, or at the very least much more probable, as an assertion that something was possible given the correct conditions in the past, but, of course, those conditions did not exist.

    The other two "could have done" and "might have done" are not definite and don't carry the same degree of high probability. The phrase "would have done" is stronger, more probable, and more definite when it comes to asserting what was possible in the past under certain conditions.


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    #5

    Re: Conditionals in past

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    Yes, both are correct and okay. We use "would", "could", and "might" with "have" to express an imaginary result of a past action or event.
    Haven't you forgotten to include 'may' with "have" in this group, Proesl.


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    #6

    Re: Conditionals in past

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    Haven't you forgotten to include 'may' with "have" in this group, Proesl.
    We do hear "may have" used for the result clause of a past conditional. However, it's quite likely that ESL students are taught to use "might", "could" and "would", in accordance with ESL grammar book wisdom, which I could possibly tend to go along with, more or less.



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    #7

    Re: Conditionals in past

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    We do hear "may have" used for the result clause of a past conditional. However, it's quite likely that ESL students are taught to use "might", "could" and "would", in accordance with ESL grammar book wisdom, which I could possibly tend to go along with, more or less.

    To not give students the whole picture doesn't seem to me to constitute wisdom, Proesl.

    In addition to 'may', and in order to give the full spectrum of possibility and/or certainty, they should also have should/probably/likely/almost certainly/must.


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    #8

    Re: Conditionals in past

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    To not give students the whole picture doesn't seem to me to constitute wisdom, Proesl.

    In addition to 'may', and in order to give the full spectrum of possibility and/or certainty, they should also have should/probably/likely/almost certainly/must.
    Other than, "may" how do the other words you suggest apply to the result clause of a past conditional-third conditional? They're words one can use in the result clause, but they don't provide an additional structure from which to choose.


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    #9

    Re: Conditionals in past

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    Other than, "may" how do the other words you suggest apply to the result clause of a past conditional-third conditional? They're words one can use in the result clause, but they don't provide an additional structure from which to choose.
    Sorry, in a rush right now.

    If I had been studying that course, I likely&probably/almost certainly would have completed the course by now.


    'should' & 'must' don't work here because the necessary knowledge, the process of logical deduction isn't available but that still presents a golden opportunity to let ESLs see that,

    almost certainly = must

    probably/likely = should

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Conditionals in past

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    Sorry, in a rush right now.

    If I had been studying that course, I likely&probably/almost certainly would have completed the course by now.


    'should' & 'must' don't work here because the necessary knowledge, the process of logical deduction isn't available but that still presents a golden opportunity to let ESLs see that,

    almost certainly = must

    probably/likely = should
    These two equations don't make any sense to me.

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