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    #1

    If I could have swum then, I would have helped him.

    Dear all

    Let' say a friend of yours is drowing, but I can't help him because I can't swim.

    In that case, I think it's possible to say, "If I could swim I would help him".


    If so, how should I say when I look back on this incident 20 years later as a past event?

    "If I could have swum then, I would have helped him"?

    Or "If I had been able to swim then, I would have helped him"?

    Or some other ways?

    Thank you!

    OP
    Last edited by optimistic pessimist; 12-Jun-2012 at 12:31.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If I could have swum then, I would have helped him.

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all

    Let' say a friend of yours is drawing, but I can't help him because I can't swim.

    In that cae, I think it's possible to say, "If I could swim I would help him".


    If so, how should I say when I look back on this incident 20 years later as a past event?

    "If I could have swum then, I would have helped him"?

    Or "If I had been able to swim then, I would have helped him"?

    Or some other ways?

    Thank you!

    OP
    "If I had been able to swim then, I would have helped him." I would use this one.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: If I could have swum then, I would have helped him.

    In my opinion, "If I had been able to swim then" suggests that you have learnt to swim since that event. If you couldn't swim then, and you still can't swim then I see no reason not to use "If I could swim, I would have helped him". I would be more likely, however, to say "I would have helped him but I can't swim!" (or, if you now can swim, "I would have helped him but I couldn't swim").

    Note the spelling of "drowning". I think you originally wrote "drawing" as that appears in bhai's quote of your post, but then you've edited it to "drowing" which is still incorrect.

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