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Thread: If I knew

  1. Senior Member
    Interested in Language
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      • Brazil
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    #1

    If I knew

    I don't know why he's sad.

    1) If I knew why he's sad, I'd try to help.
    2) If I knew why he was sad, I'd try to help.


    I don't know where he lives.

    3) If I knew where he lives, I'd drop by.
    4) If I knew where he lived, I'd drop by.

    Which of these sentences above are right?

  2. Phaedrus's Avatar
    Senior Member
    English Teacher
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      • United States
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    • Join Date: Jul 2012
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    #2

    Re: If I knew

    I myself prefer (2) and (4), which exhibit backshifting. Compare: I wish I knew why he was sad. / I wish I knew where he lived.

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