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    • Join Date: Sep 2006
    • Posts: 575
    #1

    if

    I would like to know the difference between "1" and "2".
    1. If I had more time, I would have done it better.
    2. If I had had more time, I would have done it better.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #2

    Re: if

    Quote Originally Posted by wowenglish1 View Post
    I would like to know the difference between "1" and "2".
    1. If I had more time, I would have done it better.

    Hi WE.

    If, in my current life, sufficient time existed, but it doesn't, then ...


    2. If I had had more time, I would have done it better.

    During the course of that one issue, I didn't have enough time. It doesn't address whether the speaker has time for other things in their life.

    Imagine someone taking an exam. The time is limited solely to that alloted for the exam. It has nothing to do with how much time the speaker has in their life.

    #


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #3

    Re: if

    1. If I had more time, I would have done it better.
    INCORRECT
    The tenses are mixed in this sentence, which should be:
    If I had more time, I would do it better.
    This sentence now means: you have told me how much time I have to complete the job. I don't think it is really enough time. I can get the job done in that time, but I would have made a better job of it if more time was given for me to do the job.


    2. If I had had more time, I would have done it better.
    CORRECT
    This sentence means: There's the job, all done. You told me (yesterday/last week etc), how much time I had to do it, and here, it's done...but if you had (at the time in the past when you told me how quickly you wanted it done) given me more time than you did, I could have done the job better.

    The use of 'would' gives the sentence the meaning, I would have been more inclined to do the task better than I did. It sounds as if the person was less interested in doing it well because of lack of time.
    Compare:
    1. If I had more time, I could do it better.

    2. If I had had more time, I could have done it better.


    Now, the sentences indicate that 'a good job cannot be rushed' and if I had had more time to do the task, I had the skill to have made a better job of it than I did. I didn't have as much time as I really needed to apply my skill and make a first-rate job of it.
    Last edited by David L.; 13-Dec-2007 at 06:07.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #4

    Re: if

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    1. If I had more time, I would have done it better.

    INCORRECT
    This tenses are mixed in this sentence. which should be:
    If I had more time, I would do it better.
    This sentence now means: you have told me how much time I have to complete the job. I don't think it is really enough time. I can get the job done in that time, but I would have made a better job of it if more time was given for me to do the job.
    There are many, many mixed conditionals in language, David L. Mixed conditionals are not incorrect.

    You have changed the meaning of,

    1. If I had more time, I would have done it better.

    with your example;

    If I had more time, I would do it better.

    Number 1 means;

    1. If I had more time, [counterfactual = I don't have more time] I would have done it better [counterfactual = I didn't do it as well I I could have]

    Your version means,

    If I had more time, [counterfactual = I don't have more time] I would do it better [I would, at some time ahead of the moment of speaking, do it better, (seemingly 'better' points to some previous try)]

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