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  1. Key Member
    Academic
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      • Native Language:
      • Armenian
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      • Iran
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    #1

    if he could, he wouldn't

    Is the second sentence correct:

    1) He gave me the money because I forced him to. If he could, he wouldn't have given it to me.



    The meaning is clear, but I am not sure 'if he could' works here. The idea is that if he could not pay me, he wouldn't, but the sentence makes one think that the meaning is that if he could pay me, he wouldn't.

    Gratefully,
    Navi
    Last edited by navi tasan; 12-Jan-2020 at 05:32.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
    VIP Member
    Interested in Language
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    #2

    Re: if he could, he wouldn't

    Perhaps:

    If he had had a choice he wouldn't have given me the money.

    "He gave me the money because I forced him to" needs no explanation.
    Not a professional teacher

  3. jutfrank's Avatar
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    English Teacher
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    #3

    Re: if he could, he wouldn't

    I think it just about works but it does make one think twice. Best avoided.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
    Moderator
    English Teacher
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    #4

    Re: if he could, he wouldn't

    I'd end with "If he could have refused, he would have".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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