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Dialog about Conditional 3 and Past Perfect

Cliff Hulcoop: make it clear I am just a native and not a qualified English teacher.

 

Ilya: Hi Cliff. Hi everybody! There are four sentences here. I think the first two are correct from grammatical point of view. What about the last two?

1) If I had studied English better I would travel to London now.
2) If I had studied English better, but I didn’t, I would travel to London now.
3) If I had studied English better, but I haven’t, I would travel to London now.
4) If I had studied English better, but I hadn’t, I would travel to London now.

Cliff Hulcoop: An average bloke would consider all 4 to be ok
Cliff Hulcoop: the "better" however makes it a bit obscure to me as I think we would be more likely to say in real life "well enough" in this context IMHO
Cliff Hulcoop: I have my suspicions some experts may worry about 3 as it is referring to the present (haven't) based on the past (had). But I think it is possibly ok.
Cliff Hulcoop: In real life natives would possibly say something like.
Cliff Hulcoop: "I had tried to learn English but haven't been able to" which I think is ok
Cliff Hulcoop: So an "ordinary native" would possibly consider all 4 ok.
Cliff Hulcoop: But natives sometimes break the rules as we think they some of them are silly and don't read grammar books all day.

Ilya: As for me, 1 is ok, 2 is ok but has unnecessary part, 3 is worse and 4 is not even correct.
Why should I say "I hadn't learnt English well enough". Why not "didn't" or "haven't"?
Ilya: And even "haven't" is not so good because it is usually not a discussion about overall results. It would be too judgmental.

Cliff Hulcoop: I cannot explain it technically
Cliff Hulcoop: Consider
Cliff Hulcoop: "I haven't learnt English"
Cliff Hulcoop: "I have never been able to play the piano"
Cliff Hulcoop: "I haven't been able to learn it yet"

Ilya: All of them seem to be fine.

Cliff Hulcoop: I am going by "what natives really say" rather than what expert grammar books say is acceptable

Ilya: Do you expect to here 4 somewhere?

Cliff Hulcoop: Consider

Ilya: Don't you think that 3 is too judgmental?

Cliff Hulcoop: If I had applied for a passport, but I hadn't , I would travel to London now
Cliff Hulcoop: If I had applied for a passport, but I haven't, I would travel to London now

Ilya: The second is OK. What about the first?

Cliff Hulcoop: Ilya: If I had studied English better I would travel to London now.
Cliff Hulcoop: I think it might look better with a comma but commas aren't my area of expertise in sentences
Cliff Hulcoop: i.e.
Cliff Hulcoop: " If I had studied English better, I would travel to London now."

Ilya: I hadn't applyed for a passport. Who would ever say something like that?

Cliff Hulcoop: noone
Cliff Hulcoop: it is applied not applyed
Cliff Hulcoop: :)
Cliff Hulcoop: It would depend on the context

Ilya: What is the difference?

Cliff Hulcoop: spelling :)

Ilya: I am not about spelling now.

Cliff Hulcoop: Ilya: I hadn't applyed for a passport.
Cliff Hulcoop: is that what you mean?
Cliff Hulcoop: Consider:
Cliff Hulcoop: "Why didn't you visit you relatives abroad?
Cliff Hulcoop: "I hadn't applied for a passport."
Cliff Hulcoop: Also it would take too long to get one in this country.

Ilya: Now it is OK.
Ilya: And comma was not necessary... btw...

Cliff Hulcoop: ok
Cliff Hulcoop: I will admit commas aren't my area of expertise in sentences
Cliff Hulcoop: i have some intuition regarding them
Cliff Hulcoop: and i know about lists etc.

Ilya: I didn't travel to my parents because I hadn't applied for a passport. It is OK.
Ilya: "I am not going to my parents because I hadn't applied for a passport" sounds strange to me.
Ilya: Probably is it also possible. I don't know.

Cliff Hulcoop: we would be more likely to say "going to visit my parents"

Ilya: That is why I don't like 4.

Cliff Hulcoop: There is "liking something" and it being possible

Ilya: You can even say "I am going to go". Basinga. )))

Cliff Hulcoop: Consider
Cliff Hulcoop: "I am not going to visit my parents because I hadn't applied for a passport in time"

Ilya: It is OK.

Cliff Hulcoop: So are you saying you think it is wrong without "in time"?

Ilya: In some context it can be OK.
Ilya: If it is about some special time in the past it is OK.
Ilya: I don't see why I should use "had done" if it is about now.
Ilya: I think that Zim could find some grammar explanation for that situation.

Cliff Hulcoop: If I had not been disconnected because I did not pay the bill, I would be able to call you.
Cliff Hulcoop: "If I had done as the teacher told me to do instead of messing about, I could go to college"
Cliff Hulcoop: "If you had done as you were told we would not be in this mess right now"

Ilya: It is OK, but
"If I had not been disconnected beause I hadn't paid the bill"
is also possible.

Cliff Hulcoop: Ilya: "If I had not been disconnected beause I hadn't paid the bill"
is also possible.agreed
Cliff Hulcoop: You seem to be contradicting yourself a bit

Ilya: You want to say that it sounds like 4?

Cliff Hulcoop: yes
Cliff Hulcoop: If I had studied English better, but I hadn’t, I would travel to London now.
Cliff Hulcoop: That is 4

Ilya: But there is a difference here.

Cliff Hulcoop: what difference?

Ilya: Because sometimes you have to pay in advance...
Ilya: I hadn't paid the bill in time, and even though I have already paid it my telephone is still not working.

Cliff Hulcoop: There are many possible sentences
Cliff Hulcoop: i don't get your point
Cliff Hulcoop: If I had not been disconnected because I did not pay the bill, I would be able to call you.
Cliff Hulcoop: you can replace "did" with "had" there if you also replace "pay" with "paid"

Ilya: "I hadn't paid the bill" for me means to be about payment in proper time in the past. "In the past" not "up to now"..

Cliff Hulcoop: yes but it is about referring to an action in the past causing an effect in the present
Ilya: "had paid" if about past before past

Cliff Hulcoop: "If you hadn't punched him in the mouth he would not be throwing bricks at our window"

Ilya: If you hadn't punchedIt is not about past before the past
Ilya: Like "if you didn't" is not about the past at all.

Cliff Hulcoop: Which of my sentences do you not like?
Cliff Hulcoop: If I had not been disconnected because I did not pay the bill, I would be able to call you.
Cliff Hulcoop: is that it?
Cliff Hulcoop: I mean:
Cliff Hulcoop: "If I hadn't been disconnected because I hadn't paid the bill, I would be able to call you."
Cliff Hulcoop: do you dislike that sentence?
Cliff Hulcoop: why?

Ilya: "If I had not been disconnected because I hadn't paid the bill, I would be able to call you." Cliff Hulcoop: If I had not been disconnected because I did not pay the bill, I would be able to call you.They have the same meaning.

Cliff Hulcoop: agreed
Cliff Hulcoop: re: meanng
Cliff Hulcoop: i don't understand your debate
Cliff Hulcoop: you seem to be implying one of my sentences is wrong

Ilya: Past perfect is a little bit more formal..

Cliff Hulcoop: i'm not an expert on terms

Ilya: "I hadn't paid the bill" for me means to be about payment in proper time in the past. "In the past" not "up to now"..That is why it is not exactly like 4.

Cliff Hulcoop: yes BUT ....
Cliff Hulcoop: because you did not pay a bill in the past you cannot make a call NOW or soon

Ilya: yes

Cliff Hulcoop: which is the same as 4
Cliff Hulcoop: pretty much
Cliff Hulcoop: If I had studied English better, but I hadn’t, I would travel to London now.

Ilya: "I hadn't learnt English. That's why I am not traveling to London."
Ilya: Do you consider it correct?
Ilya: I don't like it.

Cliff Hulcoop: It depends on the context
Cliff Hulcoop: consider this:

Ilya: In what context can it make sense?

Cliff Hulcoop: "I hadn't learnt English by the time i finished the course. etc"

Ilya: And that's why I am not going to London now?

Cliff Hulcoop: yes
Cliff Hulcoop: E.g. you went on a course
Cliff Hulcoop: but you sucked
Cliff Hulcoop: and that is why you are now not going
Cliff Hulcoop: because you won't understand anythng

Ilya: I didn't know English 5 yest ago... I know it now... But I am not going to London because 5 years ago I didn't know English?

Cliff Hulcoop: Consider this.
Cliff Hulcoop: "I went on a course recently to learn English. I sucked at it. I didn't learn English so now I am not going to London "
Cliff Hulcoop: again didn't=hadn't here (for me)

Ilya: "I hadn't learnt English" means that it had to be done up to the particular moment in the past (like paying bills).

Cliff Hulcoop: yes
Cliff Hulcoop: i went on the course to learn English.
Cliff Hulcoop: I hadn't learnt English (I sucked)
Cliff Hulcoop: in the past
Cliff Hulcoop: so I have decided not to go to London NOW (in the present/future)

Ilya: So it is about some special context.


Cliff Hulcoop: I think so
Cliff Hulcoop: Consider

Ilya: Why should I say 4, if there is no special context?

Cliff Hulcoop: "They hadn't got a car that was suitable in the showroom so I am going to go to work by train"

Ilya: It is OK. It was suitable then, it is not suitable now...

Cliff Hulcoop: I went there. It was not suitable. So i did not buy the car. So I am going to use the train now.
Cliff Hulcoop: "I hadn't got enough money left for the bus journey home so I am going to make sure i don't make the same mistake again by putting a lot of change into my pocket."

Ilya: If I had studied English better, but I hadn’t, I would travel to London now.I think it is possible to invent some context for that..

Cliff Hulcoop: Cliff Hulcoop: They hadn't got a car that was suitableA fancy way of saying "They had no suitable car"
Cliff Hulcoop: yes

Ilya: Like you didn't pass the exam when it was possible.

Cliff Hulcoop: "I studied it in the past but did not do well enough so now I won't go to London."
Cliff Hulcoop: yes
Cliff Hulcoop: As I said this is all based on "what we say" not books

Ilya: If I had studied English better (but I hadn't studied it before the exam and so didn't pass it) I would have a diploma and be able to travel to London now.

Cliff Hulcoop: yes
Cliff Hulcoop: although bare in mind
Cliff Hulcoop: "and be able to travel to London now."

Ilya: Do you mean that even without special context 4 sounds for you correct and natural?

Cliff Hulcoop: implies you can only travel to London with that diploma
Cliff Hulcoop: but sometimes it can be blurred
Cliff Hulcoop: as it might mean only taking into consideration other criteria based on the context
Cliff Hulcoop: E.g. not winning a competition on TV and being told "I'm sorry you won't be going to London but you have a consolation prize"
Cliff Hulcoop: The TV host can't possibly know the contestant won't go because they could pay for it themselves
Cliff Hulcoop: but they did not win the prize (a free trip to London)

Ilya: I know that we can invent some special contexts for practically every sentence. And it is a good exercise - inventing such contexts. I even recommend it to those who studies grammar.
But I think that without referring to that context we should not consider the sentence grammatically correct.
Ilya: I am seeing him.
Ilya: It is not correct unless you mean "I am having hallucinations" now or something like that. Or I am visiting him...

Cliff Hulcoop: As I said I prefer "well enough" to "better" based on personal taste

Ilya: "Well enough" and "better" have different meanings.
Ilya: I meant "better" because I meant comparison with what what I saw..

Cliff Hulcoop: I know the have different meanings
Cliff Hulcoop: but in the context you mean
Cliff Hulcoop: they would be the same
Cliff Hulcoop: as in your example
Cliff Hulcoop: the inference is their English is not good enough
Cliff Hulcoop: for them to visit London

Ilya: When I speak with my students we usually ask ourselves how to do things better...

Cliff Hulcoop: Consider this
Cliff Hulcoop: I am not good Enough to teach English

Ilya: So it is pretty natural for me to think about "better", not "well enough"..

Cliff Hulcoop: If I was better at English I would be good enough to teach it
Cliff Hulcoop: they both mean the same

Ilya: I would say "if I were better"

Cliff Hulcoop: You asked me what was natural
Cliff Hulcoop: to me

Ilya: But you say "was", I know..

Cliff Hulcoop: other natives may have other opinions
Cliff Hulcoop: But we talk about not being good enough/talented enough etc to do things
Cliff Hulcoop: E.g.
Cliff Hulcoop: He was fired because he wasn't good enough
Cliff Hulcoop: I'm not good enough to talk to natives
Cliff Hulcoop: If it's good enough for you it's good enough for me
Cliff Hulcoop: I failed the exam because I wasn't good enough
Cliff Hulcoop: forget was vs were for now
Cliff Hulcoop: it depends what you are trying to say

Ilya: So, the conclusion is: 4 sounds weird if you don't have special context in your mind. OK?

Cliff Hulcoop: 4 means i tried in the past, i think
Cliff Hulcoop: 1-3 could imply i started in the past and have been trying up to now

Ilya: Ok. The past was the proper time for that. This is meant if we say "but I hadn't".

Cliff Hulcoop: however 1-3 can also imply they tried in the past and stopped before now
Cliff Hulcoop: e.g.
Cliff Hulcoop: I haven't been able to pass a driving test
Cliff Hulcoop: also
Cliff Hulcoop: "I haven't learnt French" could mean "I never tried to"

Ilya: How does it rely to conditional sentences we were discussing?

Cliff Hulcoop: 1-3 can mean many things

Ilya: Actually we were discussing so called Conditional 3, or rather Mixed conditional, because the second part if about possible future..

Cliff Hulcoop: Ilya: If I had studied English better I would travel to London now.
Cliff Hulcoop: can mean:
Cliff Hulcoop: i tried once
Cliff Hulcoop: I tried several times
Cliff Hulcoop: and both can mean up to now
Cliff Hulcoop: or the last time ended a while before now
Cliff Hulcoop: (re: the studying)
Cliff Hulcoop: "I hadn't learnt English. That's why I am not traveling to London."
Do you consider it correct?
I don't like it.
Cliff Hulcoop: Consider also this
Cliff Hulcoop: In order to apply for the job they wanted someone with good English. I hadn't learnt English . That's why I am not travelling to London"
Cliff Hulcoop: or in this context i prefer "... not going to London"
Cliff Hulcoop: "I hadn't" is sometimes used to explain why you are not doing something in the present
Cliff Hulcoop: "I hadn't thought of that"
Cliff Hulcoop: "I hadn't took an umbrella with me"

Ilya: - Do you like this idea?
- I hadn't thought of it.

Is it OK?

Cliff Hulcoop: To me yes
Cliff Hulcoop: based on "what we say"

Ilya: Then 4 is correct.. based on "what you say"...

Cliff Hulcoop: http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/i-hadnt-thought-of-that.1021662/
Cliff Hulcoop: Why didn't you visit you relatives abroad?typo .your.

Ilya: So, in this case:
I haven't thought of it before = I hadn't thought of it

Cliff Hulcoop: Ilya: Like "if you didn't" is not about the past at all.If you didn't like it you should have told me when we were in the shop otherwise i would not have bought it

Ilya: Sounds even better for spoken English
Ilya: 4 is still not good

Cliff Hulcoop: i thought we agreed
Cliff Hulcoop: as you said it depends what you are trying to say
Cliff Hulcoop: ok
Cliff Hulcoop: fair enough

Ilya: ok

Cliff Hulcoop: you are right re the context generally
Cliff Hulcoop: you can possibly have 4 in many contexts
Cliff Hulcoop: but it would look unnatural in some contexts
Cliff Hulcoop: e.g. if you had been doing something up to now (in general)
Cliff Hulcoop: Like the context of
Cliff Hulcoop: "I have been studying English but I am not very good"
Cliff Hulcoop: however in this example
Cliff Hulcoop: "I had been studying English but I am/was not very good" implies there was a break before now (e.g. a few weeks)
Cliff Hulcoop: so i think we now sort of agree
Cliff Hulcoop: re context
Cliff Hulcoop: Be careful of saying things are not possible
Cliff Hulcoop: as you said it is often possible to find weird contexts where something is possible.

Ilya: And that is a very good exercise for those who study grammar.
Ilya: It develops your feeling of the language.

Cliff Hulcoop: yes
Cliff Hulcoop: watch the telly more
Cliff Hulcoop: well youtube clips
Cliff Hulcoop: teacher 0, native 1 )

Category: Texts | Added by: IlyaShalnov (2016.03.14)
Views: 512 | Comments: 1 | Rating: 0.0/0
Total comments: 1
0
1  
ZYM_BRO_NIA:  Ilya:

1) If I had studied English better I would travel to London now.
2) If I had studied English better, but I didn’t, I would travel to London now.
3) If I had studied English better, but I haven’t, I would travel to London now.
4) If I had studied English better, but I hadn’t, I would travel to London now.We don't need "but I didn't, but I haven't, but I hadn't, because the construction of the phrase "If I had studied English well enough, ...." implies that.
 
 ZYM_BRO_NIA: "I think it might look better with a comma but commas aren't my area of expertise in sentences"
 
 comma is a requirement
 

 Ilya: As with other dependent clauses in English, it is common for a comma to be used to separate the clauses if the dependent clause comes first (as is done in the above examples). See Comma: Separation of clauses.
 Ilya: from here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_conditional_sentences

 ZYM_BRO_NIA: Yes and the dependent clause starts with "if", that is why comma is a requirement.
 
 Ilya: oh, yes
 Ilya: BTW, that "Grouchy Grammarian" gave a lot of examples of unnecessary words. But when I examined those examples I saw that those “unnecessary” words actually helped speakers to convey what they meant.

 ZYM_BRO_NIA: Ilya: In this case they helped us to understand what can stand behind this grammatical construction "If I had done".
 
 ZYM_BRO_NIA: me - not. It is good as a separate phrase after the conditional to explain. I don't see any reason to insert it inbetween the two clauses.
 
 Ilya: Those are grammar examples:
If I had done (but I didn't)...
If I did (I will probably do)...

And suddenly I heard "If I had done (but I hadn't done)... So this sentence looked strange, and so the discussion began..
 
 ZYM_BRO_NIA: in brackets it is OK

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