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Just a quick one,

If I had cared about my grade in this course, I would have studied harder.

If I cared about my grade in this course, I would have studied harder.

Which one is correct? The first one would be an example of an If-conditional sentence, wouldn't it? I understand that for this type of conditional sentence, you need "had been" and "would have"; but would simple past in the position of the past perfect tense, "had cared", do the job as well (i.e. If I cared about my grade in this course, I would have studied harder).?

So,

"Even if he was a theif, I would have allowed him in."

or must it always be

"Even if he had been a thief, I would have allowed him in."

Thanks =)
Comments  
Hello LB

The first sentence presents a particular state or period of caring: if at that time I had cared about X, I would have done Y.

The second sentence presents a general state of caring: if I cared generally about X, I would have done Y.

For instance,

1. If I cared about passing that exam, I would have studied harder at the weekend. (I didn't care about the exam at the weekend, and I still don't care about it.)

MrP
OK, that's wonderful, thanks.
The first sentence presents a particular state or period of caring: if at that time I had cared about X, I would have done Y.
But doesn't "had cared" indicate that something had already been completed prior to another past event? If you had cared about X, then presumably, according to your use of past perfect tense in this sentence, your caring of X had already become a completed action before you could even begin to start doing Y. Or is this some kind of a special case?
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I think the standard conditional is described here:
http://www.englishpage.com/conditional/conditionalintro.html

Past time (see past unreal conditional at that page)
If I had cared about my grade in this course, I would have studied harder.

Present time (see present unreal conditional)
If I cared about my grade in this course, I would study harder.

In between, things are messierEmotion: smile

You can find mixed stuff like this on the Web:
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As a disclaimer, I care less about what your opinion or thoughts are
about my blog. If I cared, I would have called you and talked to you.


http://udi-m.blogspot.com/2005_02_01_udi-m_archive.html
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I'd be interested to see others' opinions on such mixed stuff.

I think it is correct.
FWIW, my translation for the last quotation is:
If I would care / cared NOW, I would have called you EARLIER and talked to you.

Does any of you believe that a possible translation is:
If I cared THEN/IN THE PAST, I would have called you EARLIER/SOMETIME IN THE PAST and talked to you.
?
Mostly I read these clauses as follows:

If I cared (now or generally or in the future)
If I had cared (then, at that time, and I didn't)

I would study (now or generally or in the future)
I would have studied (then, at that time, and I didn't)

Nevertheless, there is a Necker cube effect for me, and I can hear the first clause this way:

If I cared (then, at that time, and I didn't)

All combinations (mixed conditionals) are possible, given the right situation.

CJ
CalifJimMostly I read these clauses as follows:

If I cared (now or generally or in the future)
If I had cared (then, at that time, and I didn't)

I would study (now or generally or in the future)
I would have studied (then, at that time, and I didn't)

Nevertheless, there is a Necker cube effect for me, and I can hear the first clause this way:

If I cared (then, at that time, and I didn't)
Thank you, CJ.

How about this one?
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She began restoring order, remaking the beds, kicking off her high heels to mount a chair to fix the curtain, and setting the twins small achievable tasks. They were obedient in the letter, but they were quiet and hunched as they went about their work, as though it were retribution rather than deliverance, she intended.

Ian McEwan, Atonement, p. 100.
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Would you use here the past perfect tense in the conditional?
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She began restoring order, remaking the beds, kicking off her high heels to mount a chair to fix the curtain, and setting the twins small achievable tasks. They were obedient in the letter, but they were quiet and hunched as they went about their work, as though it had been retribution rather than deliverance, she (had) intended.
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Would the meaning be any different?

Some say that, similarly to past perfect usage in the indicative (no conditionals), it defines some earlier time than simple past (were) does, even in the case of conditionals.
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LunchboxOK, that's wonderful, thanks.
The first sentence presents a particular state or period of caring: if at that time I had cared about X, I would have done Y.
But doesn't "had cared" indicate that something had already been completed prior to another past event? If you had cared about X, then presumably, according to your use of past perfect tense in this sentence, your caring of X had already become a completed action before you could even begin to start doing Y. Or is this some kind of a special case?

Hello LB

The use of the past perfect doesn't necessarily indicate completion, especially where the verb expresses a state. For instance:

1. I had known about X long before I did Y.

Here, the "knowing" continues through the time in which I did Y.

Moreover, in if-statements of this kind in older forms of English, a second "had" took the place of "would have", e.g.

1. If X had happened, I had done Y.

This demonstrates that the time frame for each part of the sentence is the same.

The "had" here is a descendant of the past perfect subjunctive, which took a slightly different form from the past perfect indicative, in earlier forms of English, and was used in different circumstances. So yes, you could also call it a special case!

MrP
I sense that "... they were quiet ..." is within the same time frame as "... it was retribution, not deliverance". Her intention, however, was before "they were quiet".

Therefore, I would use ... were quiet ..., as though it were retribution ... she (had) intended.

By this I mean I would change it was retribution to it were retribution under the influence of the governing as though, and I would probably leave she intended as is simply because the past perfect is unnecessary. The time relationships are already explicit in the situation -- but I just might use the past perfect anyway, either being acceptable in my opinion.

CJ
CalifJimI sense that "... they were quiet ..." is within the same time frame as "... it was retribution, not deliverance". Her intention, however, was before "they were quiet".

Therefore, I would use ... were quiet ..., as though it were retribution ... she (had) intended.

By this I mean I would change it was retribution to it were retribution under the influence of the governing as though, and I would probably leave she intended as is simply because the past perfect is unnecessary. The time relationships are already explicit in the situation -- but I just might use the past perfect anyway, either being acceptable in my opinion.

OK, thanks, but how about backshifting to:
as though it had been retribution
?
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