+0

some native speakers told me the sentence is grammatically correct, but that doesn't seem grammatically correct to me.

I would correct it as "If he had been there yesterday, we could have found him".


Whose sentence is correct?

1 2
Comments  (Page 2) 
fire1

But however thinking, "to use 'were'" doesn't seem to make sense to me. could you explain why the sentence makes sense?

If he were there yesterday, we could have found him.


Strictly speaking, there's nothing grammatically wrong with your example. This "were" is not a tensed form but the somewhat formal mood form called 'irrealis' (or the ill-named 'past subjunctive' in trad grammar). It expresses a remote conditional meaning.

The alternative is to use the less formal simple preterite "was" (a tensed form).

BillJ
fire1

But however thinking, "to use 'were'" doesn't seem to make sense to me. could you explain why the sentence makes sense?

If he were there yesterday, we could have found him.


Strictly speaking, there's nothing grammatically wrong with your example. This "were" is not a tensed form here but the somewhat formal mood form called 'irrealis' (or the ill-named 'past subjunctive' in trad grammar). It expresses a remote conditional meaning.

The alternative is to use the less formal simple preterite "was" (a tensed form).

Though, I've found out some native speakers think the original sentence doesn't make any sense as well as is grammatically wrong. They all insist the sentence should be rewritten "If he had been there yesterday".

But I do agree that this kind of sentence does work,

"If I were you, I would have tried such a reckless thing".


This sentence does make sense and is grammatically correct for me, but just the original sentence doesn't and isn't.

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
fire1but just the original sentence doesn't and isn't.

I'm sorry but you are wrong: it is perfectly grammatical.

The (untensed) irrealis mood form "were" is in contrast with the simple preterite form "was".

You can use the perfect if you wish, but note the comments that I made earlier.

Hi. I have a similar question.

I would have lent it to you if I hadn’t lost my wallet.

(I lost my wallet so I didn’t lent it to you)

Can “I would have lent it to you if I didn’t lost my wallet.” mean the same thing as the underlined sentence?

Thank you.

zuotengdazuo

Hi. I have a similar question.

I would have lent it to you if I hadn’t lost my wallet.

(I lost my wallet so I didn’t lent lend it to you)

Can “I would have lent it to you if I didn’t lost lose my wallet.” mean the same thing as the underlined sentence?

No. 'would have lent' has a past point of view. 'if I didn't lose' has a present point of view (hypothetical present or future). The losing of the wallet has to occur before the situation where the lending might occur. Otherwise, the logic of the sentence doesn't work. By definition the present can't occur before the past.

That little trick of substituting the past for the past perfect doesn't work well in a conditional unless you're dealing with a very common stative verb like be or have. For example, you might get away with this (where 'had' replaces 'had had':

If I had my wallet I would have lent you some money.

CJ

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.

CalifJim

That little trick of substituting the past for the past perfect doesn't work well in a conditional unless you're dealing with a very common stative verb like be or have. For example, you might get away with this (where 'had' replaces 'had had':

If I had my wallet I would have lent you some money.

Thank you very much. I see.