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Are these correct? If they are incorrect, how could I correct them? What do they mean?

1. We would have been done shopping by now if that jacket wasn't so expensive.
2. We would have been done shopping by now if that jacket hadn't been so expensive.
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Comments  (Page 2) 
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How come 'was' is not 'is'? What does it mean with 'was' and what does it mean with 'is'?
"was" particularizes the statement. "is" makes it general.

If a knife was used (earlier in this particular procedure), then ... will ...
If a knife is used (i.e., whenever a knife is used), then ... will ...

You found a rather unusual and interesting example there!

Emotion: smile
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Thanks.

If these are not correct, why? What do they mean?
1. I would be playing basketball by now if I hadn’t slacked off.
2. I would be playing basketball by now if I haven't slacked off.
3. I would be playing basketball by now if I didn’t slack off.
4. I would have been playing basketball by now if I hadn't slacked off. (This is a past conditional sentence, is 'now' incorrect here?)
Thanks again.
Original:

If something besides the cruise main was used to cancel crusing speed ...

CJ wrote: "was" particularizes the statement. "is" makes it general.

If a knife was used (earlier in this particular procedure), then ... will ...
If a knife is used (i.e., whenever a knife is used), then ... will ...

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

I submit, Jim that your knife example is not the same as the original. The original is a manual, describing how things should always happen, not how something happened in one situation.

is used to express a choice of greater doubt, one that isn't the usual, the norm. It's saying, "in the situation where you don't use the default mechanism, the cruise main, to do such and such, something WILL happen.

says the manual writer doesn't expect this situation to be the normal one. It doesn't, in my estimation, "particularize the statement". It also doesn't suggest, again, in my estimation, that something "was used (earlier in this particular procedure". It is expressing a future, a repeatable future. It is clearly not a reference to a past.

Let me offer a suggestion, some constructive criticism. You're too hung up on [and you're certainly not alone in this] trying to force what you see as past and present tense forms into unworkable situations. They are unworkable, ie. not reflective of the actual meanings because you are operating from, at the least, one false premise.

Hello Jack
If something besides the cruise main was used to cancel cruising speed and the system is still activated, the most recent set speed will automatically resume when the control lever is moved up to the RES/ACC position, then released.


This sentence can be reduced to:

'If X was used (which means ABC is still the case), Z will happen when Y is moved up/released.'

This is a slightly complicated structure. Ignoring ABC, which is an aside, you could rewrite it as:

'If X, if Y, then Z.'

The conditional part is: 'if Y, then Z'. (X precedes but does not cause Y.)

You ask 'why was'. The writer of the manual is positioning the reader at a hypothetical 'now':

1. X is used (= before)
2. ABC is the case (= now)
3. Y is moved up (= just after ABC)
4. Z happens (= just after Y)

In relation to #2 ('now'), #1 is 'before'. Therefore the writer uses the past tense: 'was used'. The event 'X was used' is 'past' in relation to other events within the hypothesis.

You ask what it would mean with 'is' instead of 'was'. Let's see:

'If X is used, Z will happen when Y is moved up.'

This time, the writer positions the reader at the point at which X is used. The sequence is still XYZ. However, if we re-insert ABC ('and the system is still activated'), the combination of 'is' and 'still' changes the meaning to:

'If X is used and ABC is still the case, Z will happen when Y is moved up.'

Which is the equivalent of:

'If X and ABC, if Y, then Z.'

I hope that helps.

MrP
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I fully agree with Jim & Mr P that a can refer to a specific one time event, eg. ,

If he was there, I didn't see him.

But I believe [from the style] that in this particular situation, the meaning is not one time specific. Manuals point readers to situations that may occur time and time again. That's what troubleshooting is all about. Here are some examples of similar structures plucked from the internet.

ESLs can easily find more by doing an "Advanced Search".

1) If a towel WAS used for a drape, you can wipe off any excess oil with it.

http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/2613/Massage_FAQ/

2) If a spring WAS used instead of a rubber band assembly, the spring must be preloaded to separate the coils before the spring will exhibit its normal spring constant.

http://www.mines.edu/academic/courses/eng/EGGN383/ref/r27/

3) 1997

Dietrich Heinrich Dotzek of Sweden, took out a patent for a magnetic assisted upright piano action. Patent number GB 2331831. The magnets assist the jack to return under the hammer butt noch, thus giving you a faster repetition with no extra weight added to the touch as would be, if a spring WAS used for the same purpose The patent was filed on 01-02-1997 and published on 02-06-1999

http://www.hollywoodmusicstore.com/ThePiano4.html

JT: In all of these examples, the can be changed with no difference in meaning to

1) If a towel WERE TO BE used for a drape,

2) If a spring WERE TO BE used instead of a rubber band assembly,

3) thus giving you a faster repetition with no extra weight added to the touch as would be, if a spring WERE TO BE used for the same purpose

In the original, the same could occur;

The meaning of this is OR Or .

So without knowing for sure whether this is indeed a manual, it's not possible to say which structure it actually is, the one described by Jim or the one I've described. Suffice it to say that the meaning of an is not always a reflection of a past situation.

'If something besides the cruise main WERE TO BE used to cancel cruising speed and the system is still activated, ...'


This would change the meaning. The 'was' here is indicative. It can't be replaced with 'were'. In speech, we would show this with a stress: 'if something besides the cruise main was used...'

Here's the text again:

'If something besides the cruise main was used to cancel cruising speed and the system is still activated, the most recent set speed will automatically resume when the control lever is moved up to the RES/ACC position, then released.'

(I would say that 'has been' could replace 'was' in this example, though.)

The direct condition of [the set speed will automatically resume] is [when the control lever is moved up], not the use of [something beside the cruise main].

That's why the 'was' in this example is a past tense. It's the 'past' of a hypothetical 'now'. The hypothetical 'now' is the time at which 'the system is still activated'. This follows the using of 'something besides the cruise main' to cancel cruising speed.

My previous post explains it; but perhaps my XYZs were too unpersuasively dry.

MrP
Is there any point in arguing "feelings in the head"?

Mr. P. and I "feel in the head" a sense of "at that time" or "before now" when we read or hear "was" in the context currently under examination. JTT "feels in the head" a sense of "were to" when presented with the same linguistic stimulus.

This is what I'd call two different readings of an expression. I think all of us can "feel it" either way, i.e., take the other side for a moment and see that the other reading is possible. We may be arguing over what "feeling in the head" the author of the statement had when he wrote it. That is futile, in my opinion.

Feelings are not something that can be proven right or wrong. If I am feeling tickled by a humorous remark to the point of laughter, what would be the point of telling me "Jim, you think you feel amused and happy, but you're wrong. You are now feeling abject grief. That's the correct feeling for you to feel at this time."? I don't think there would be any point to attempting to convince Jim of the 'wrongness' of his feeling of amusement.

De gustibus non est disputandum.

Sometimes you have to agree to disagree.

CJ
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MP: This would change the meaning. The 'was' here is indicative. It can't be replaced with 'were'. In speech, we would show this with a stress: 'if something besides the cruise main was used...'

JT: I have allowed for the potentiality you've raised, Mr P. It doesn't matter what name it has, the grammar of English clearly allows to also carry a real but doubtful meaning and a completely counterfactual meaning. Here is an example of each:

1) If my pen was used, somebody's in trouble.

2) If I was you, I'd go to Spain. [= in meaning] If I were you, I'd go to Spain.

1A) If my pen was used, it'd be the first time for it.

And here, in 1A), we see the counterfactual situation, where the stress, you mentioned, wouldn't normally occur.

So is also used, despite its name, has been used in fact, for about 300 years, to express counterfactual situations and to set up conditionals of doubt. Again to reiterate, this is precisely what does.

What's, , Mr P, indicative or subjunctive?

You seem to be denying the potential existence of my scenario, even as you have stated in other postings that a word can satisfy more than one task in language. You have completely ignored the 3 examples I provided that show a similar usage. There are thousands more that could easily be retrieved.

If these were not possible they wouldn't exist. They do exist, ergo, they are possible.

Now let's assume that the info in question IS from a manual. The manual wants to set up the scenario where an alternative something, something that is not the norm, changes a further thing. They do this to put the user in this frame of mind, in this conditional situation.

A. If something besides the cruise main was used to cancel cruising speed,

B. If something besides the cruise main has been used to cancel cruising speed,

C. 'If something besides the cruise main were to be used to cancel cruising speed,

All of these are possible because the intent of the manual writers is to set up that same conditional situation. They don't envision that it has already happened, they don't envision that it will happen a lot, they only mention it because it is a manual and if it were/was to happen, then they want to know that all the bases have been covered.

Take away the from A, B and C and substitute "In the event that". All still work. In some situations, the meanings of and are identical [save for considerations of register/formality].

If I was to come to your house = If I were to come to your house

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

MP: Here's the text again:

'If something besides the cruise main was used to cancel cruising speed and the system is still activated, the most recent set speed will automatically resume when the control lever is moved up to the RES/ACC position, then released.'

(I would say that 'has been' could replace 'was' in this example, though.)

The direct condition of [the set speed will automatically resume] is [when the control lever is moved up], not the use of [something beside the cruise main].

That's why the 'was' in this example is a past tense. It's the 'past' of a hypothetical 'now'. The hypothetical 'now' is the time at which 'the system is still activated'. This follows the using of 'something besides the cruise main' to cancel cruising speed.

My previous post explains it; but perhaps my XYZs were too unpersuasively dry.

JT: No, Mr P, you just forgot to include all the potential meanings for .
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