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http://mthobby.pcperfect.com/ch601/chconstpages.htm

If these are not correct, why? What do they mean?
1. If my skills in estimating and managing IT projects had have been that bad, I would have fired myself a few times...
2. If my skills in estimating and managing IT projects would have been that bad, I would have fired myself a few times...

Thanks.
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Let me point out the very appreciable difference between my postings and yours, Jim or Mr P's. I gather you're ROTFL because of the wonderful, insightful sources that Mr P has pulled up on language. How are yours better; judging from the following, not a whole lot.

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CalifJim in the thread: "These ones"

From a lifetime of observation I can make the following conclusions:

In the U.S. among the educated, often urban and suburban population, and among the younger people the plural of "this one" is "these".

Among the uneducated, or inner city, or rural, or older population, the plural of "this one" is "these ones".

Among the very rural and impoverished, the plural of "this one" (pronounced "thissun") is "theasons" (rhymes with "reasons").

Choose for yourself who you want to imitate.
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There are no sources from either of you to support your positions. It's just personal opinion after personal opinion; a large number of which, like the above, hardly constitute what one would call a scientific endeavor.

There are numerous questions that I've posed to both of you on issues you've raised, that you studiously ignore in favor of will of the wisp tangents.
So if you put 'would have' in your 'if' clause, you're trying both to set a condition with 'if', and to express the consequences of a condition with 'would have'. This is not possible.


And the following three sentences- three of millions of possibilities - prove Mr P's statement to be untrue

1. If he would have brought the beer, I would have brought the meat.

2. If you would assist us in this matter, we would be most grateful.

3. If you would have assisted us at that time, we would have been most grateful.

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1. You don't provide sources to support your positions either. You quote a lot of other people's opinions. I guess you think that if it's printed in a book somewhere, it must not be an opinion. It must be "science"! I'm especially shocked you quote that lightweight Pinker, who writes down to the popular level to sell better. He wrote a book called "How the Mind Works", too. He got everything about it all into a single book! Woo-woo, I'm so impressed.

2. It's obvious you wouldn't know science if it bit you on the rear.

3. Forums are for expressing opinions. Why are you in such a dither that someone expresses an opinion on a forum? It's crazy!
There are numerous questions that I've posed to both of you on issues you've raised, that you studiously ignore


Isn't that answer enough? Catch a clue, dude.
3. Forums are for expressing opinions. Why are you in such a dither that someone expresses an opinion on a forum? It's crazy!


This forum is, last time I looked, about informed opinions. ESL and not just a few ENLs come here to ask questions about how language works. How crazy is it to tell students falsehoods about language? They don't need to hear the same old stuff that they were misled with in high school/college/university.

Professor Bailey wasn't just whistling Dixie; what he stated is true. The traditional grammars have gotten a whole lot wrong.

When I post a source, you don't discuss the issues. You either head off on a tangent or diss folks that, I'm afraid to say, you have no right to diss. The number of sources you've quoted is, let me think, none. Even when I've begged for you and others to provide sources.

Now let's check on "that lightweight Pinker".

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Steven Pinker (born September 18, 1954, in Montreal, Canada) is a psychologist at Harvard University and a writer of popular science books. He was a professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 21 years before returning to Harvard in 2003. He received a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) from McGill University in 1976, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Experimental Psychology) from Harvard University in 1979.

Pinker has written about language and cognitive science for both specialist and popular audiences. He is most famous for his work on how children acquire language and for his skillful popularisation of Noam Chomsky's work on language as an innate faculty of mind. Pinker has suggested an evolutionary mechanism for this faculty, but his idea remains controversial.

His most recent book The Blank Slate was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and The Aventis Prizes for Science Books. In 2004, he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People.
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Now, let's get back to discussing the language issues, eh Jim? With three sentences, I have shown that Mr P's contention/opinion/theory wasn't, how shall we put it, quite expansive enough.
Hello JT

Your sentence #2 doesn't contain 'would have', which I specified.

Your sentences #1 and #3 should be rewritten with 'had' in place of 'would have', for the reason I gave before: 'would have' in such structures expresses the unreal consequence of a
condition, not the condition itself.

That's the reason it's 'incorrect'.

But it's a common mistake, and undoubtedly often found in the speech of native speakers. It's probably even in the CGEL somewhere. (They speak strangely in Cambridge. Trust me. I have reason to know.)

So I wouldn't worry too much about it if I were you.

MrP

PS: replacing 'would have' with 'could have' in example #1 and #3 doesn't demonstrate that 'would have' could also be used. 'Could have' contains its own condition: 'ability to'. (It can be paraphrased as 'If I had had the ability to', which is the past perfect.)
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1. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have been in jail.
2. If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have been in jail.



The ones above are correct.

What about these ones? What do they mean? If they're not correct, why?
3. I could have made half a grand if they had it in stock. (If this is wrong, why? #1 is correct? Or does that type of mixed condtional only work sometimes?)
4. I could have made half a grand if they had got it in stock.

Thanks.
Hello Jack

In number 3, you need an extra 'had'. It's easier to see if you switch the clauses round:

3a. 'If they'd had it in stock, I could have made half a grand.'

This gives the usual 'type 3 conditional' structure: past perfect in IF clause, with 'would/could/might have' + past participle in the main clause.

In number 4, we have the 'I have got' problem. This is an unusual verb: it's the present perfect tense ('I have' + past participle), but it has a present meaning (= 'I have').

The simple past of 'have got' is therefore one step back from the present perfect: 'I had got', which is what we have in your #4.

In a type 3 conditional, however, the verb in the IF clause has to be the past perfect, which is one step back from that. This would give us 'I had had got':

4a. ?'If they had had got it in stock, I could have made half a grand.'

I don't believe this form exists in BrE, though it may do in AmE. (I'd be interested to know what other people think.)

In BrE, you would usually use 3a instead. Some people might use your #4, however, as the nearest approximation to 4a. In that case, it would indeed be a mixed conditional:

4. ?'If they had got it in stock, I could have made half a grand.' (= simple past in the IF clause (from type 2), with 'would/could/might have' + past participle in the main clause (from type 3).

I myself would call this form 'incorrect': if I found it (for example) in a piece of text I was editing, I would change it to 3a. But opinions do vary.

MrP
Thanks. I am a bit confused about these:

1. I could have made half a grand if they had got it in stock. (Why do I need 'had had got'? #2 is correct?)
2. I would have been in trouble if they had killed him. (I don't have 'had had killed' here? So why is #1 incorrect?)

3. I could have made half a grand if they had it in stock. (Is this past perfect+past simple? If so, why isn't this correct? #4 is correct?)
4. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have been in jail. (This is past simple+past perfect. I know this is a mixed conditional, it makes sense with context. So why is #3 incorrect? Or does this type of mixed conditional only work sometimes?)

Thanks.
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Sorry, Jack, I made it too confusing.

1. 'I have got' is a special verb: it's a present perfect form with a present meaning. So for the equivalent of the simple past for 'they have got', you have to say 'they had got'. But that leaves no form for the equivalent of the past perfect. Think of it like this:

they have got = present tense
they had got = simple past

So how do we form the past perfect? Some people might say:

?they had had got = past perfect

But I wouldn't recommend it. (It's not accepted as far as I know in BrE; though it may be in AmE.)

Now to be 'correct', this sentence needs a past perfect in the IF clause. Since the past perfect of 'they have got' would be '?they had had got', we have to use an alternative:

'I could have made half a grand, if they had had it in stock.'

In summary, you need [IF + past perfect of 'have got'] + 'could have made'. But 'have got' has no past perfect. So you have to use the past perfect of 'have'.

2. This is fine, as a type 3 conditional: [IF + past perfect of 'kill'] + 'would have been in trouble'.

3. This isn't 'correct'. This is another type 3 conditional, so the IF clause needs the past perfect: 'if they had had it in stock'.

4. This mixes two kinds of conditional:

a) If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be in jail. (type 2)
b) If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have been in jail. (type 3)

I wouldn't myself agree that this is 'correct', for the following reason:

'If it weren't for you' is used to present an unreal situation related to the present. 'I wouldn't have been in jail' presents an unreal situation related to the past.

Given that the 'if' statement is the condition of the 'wouldn't have been' statement, if #4 were 'correct', an unreal situation in the present would have to be the condition of an unreal situation in the past. I don't think that can be possible.

But I may be wrong, and am always interested in 'examples to the contrary', so let me know the context where it makes sense.

MrP

PS: There's a second (different) interpretation of the 'correctness' of your sentences, by JTT, three posts down. If you're lucky, you'll get a third...
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