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    #1

    If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    Hi. Could someone help me understand this usage? I hear native speakers use this conditional sentence construction a lot-the condition is in the PAST SIMPLE and the result uses WOULD HAVE , for example :
    I would have nailed that audition, if you didn't make me miss it.(he did make her miss it).
    I would have been disappointed, if you didn't come.(when the person is already there).
    If I asked her, (when she was leaving) she wouldn't have told me( where she was going).
    I mean, why isn't the condition in Past Perfect?
    Please, help me out. With gratitude.

  1. kilroy65's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    The sentences are mixed conditionals which express a hypothetical past result of a present action. If you google "mixed conditionals", you'll find quite a few examples.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    Quote Originally Posted by andi harper View Post
    I would have nailed that audition, if you didn't make me miss it.(he did make her miss it).
    I would have been disappointed, if you didn't come.(when the person is already there).
    I mean, why isn't the condition in Past Perfect?
    The past simple is inappropriate in those sentences. You are right; it should be past perfect.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    Quote Originally Posted by kilroy65 View Post
    The sentences are mixed conditionals which express a hypothetical past result of a present action. If you google "mixed conditionals", you'll find quite a few examples.
    No. They show the present hypothetical result of a past hypothetical action:

    I would be unhappy (now) if you hadn't decided (in the past) to come.

  4. kilroy65's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    But the OP's examples are the other way round.
    Last edited by kilroy65; 28-Feb-2016 at 10:24.

  5. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    Yes, and they are unnatural.

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    #7

    Re: If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    Hi, Piscean. Thanks so much. At least someone else considers it wrong too. But does this mean that native speakers use it incorrectly? Could this just be for simplification ? And I just thought of another example I heard on a tv show.
    If I told you guys (he's referring to the past time when they didn't know his secret but they do now), you would have laughed at me.
    Are you a native speaker?

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    In BrE, the carefully constructed, grammatically correct verions of what you heard on the TV show would be "If I had told you, you would have laughed at me" or "Had I told you, you would have laughed at me".
    If the sentence started with "If I told you" it would end with "you would laugh at me".

    People on TV shows don't always speak grammatically, especially if it's not a scripted programme.

    Was your question "Are you a native speaker?" directed at Piscean? If so, you can find out the native language of every user of this forum by clicking on "Member Info" under their username.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #9

    Re: If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    Hello, emsr2d2. Many thanks. I really appreciate your input. I'd really like to know your opinion on this example sentence that I came across on one of the websites explaining Mixed conditionals.
    I would have been happy to help you if I wasn't in the middle of another meeting.
    Does this mean that the meeting is still in progress or is going to happen in a few minutes? If so, could the first part be like this: I would be happy to help you if I wasn't in the middle of another meeting.


  7. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: If I asked her,she wouldn't have told me.

    Quote Originally Posted by kilroy65 View Post
    The sentences are mixed conditionals which express a hypothetical past result of a present action.
    Yesterday I used such a sentence on another forum.
    'If the OP intended to back up the operating system, s/he would have said so.'
    Is it natural?
    I am not a teacher.

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