if I can’t win any of the prizes, I would have wasted my time and effort

diamondcutter

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This is from a test paper which is for 9th graders in China and I’m not the test writer. I think there’s something wrong with this sentence in it.

What’s more, if I can’t win any (of) the prizes, I would have (wasted) my time and effort.

I have no question with its answers but its tense. I mean the main clause should be: I will waste my time and effort.

What do you say?
 
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emsr2d2

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No, it's "I would have wasted". If, in the future, I don't win a prize in the contest, that will mean that I, in the past (leading up to the contest), wasted my time and effort studying/practising (and entering) for the competition.
 

jutfrank

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No, couldn't is wrong. He's talking about the future.

If I can't win any prizes = If I am not able to win any of the prizes (at that real future event)
 

diamondcutter

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I see. The speaker is looking at the past from the future, which is similar to this situation:

I’m going on holiday on a farm next week. I’ll tell you what it was like when I come back.
 
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