+0

Hi. I have found the following sentence here:

http://forum.wordreference.com/threads/if-my-grandfather-was-alive-today-he-might-have-enjoyed.3114557/#post-18349559

If my grandfather was alive today, he might have enjoyed looking after our garden.
I would also like to ask why "might have enjoyed" is used in this sentence instead of "might enjoy"?

That thread is too long and confusing for me to follow. So could you explain it in a simpler way?

Thank you.

+1
zuotengdazuoIf my grandfather was alive today, he might have enjoyed looking after our garden. I would also like to ask why "might have enjoyed" is used in this sentence instead of "might enjoy"?

If you consider only "he might enjoy looking after our garden", it conjures up (at least for some speakers) a situation in which Grandfather can currently decide whether he'd like to look after the garden.

Grandfather being quite dead, this is impossible, and (for some speakers) it makes for some grotesque humor.

So these speakers shy away from that wording and replace it with "he might have enjoyed ...", which makes the possibility more remote — in fact, infinitely remote in this particular case.

(Personally, I'm not bothered by either phrasing.)

CJ

Comments  

The sentence, "If my grandfather was alive today, he might have enjoyed looking after our garden.", is okay. The meaning is: Grandad might start working in the garden every morning, and enjoy it.


The sentence, "If my grandfather was alive today, he might enjoy looking after our garden.", is okay, but with a different sense from the sentence above: I might ask him to work in our garden every morning, and if he did start to do it, he might find that he enjoys it.

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
Thank you, CJ.