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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 3) 
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.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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'.


Hello, Mr P.

Sentence 2, with is simply showing now with a future expectation. It's the same . The other two, 1 & 3 just show a past but the use of is fully grammatical in both. They can be paraphrased as,

"Had you been willing". It's not the statement of fact that, shows. It's an expression that discusses/refers to the modal meaning of 'willingness'. Change the intonational pattern that you are likely locked into and you'll see the meaning as willingness.

I suggest that the reason you've given is faulty for we find that modal can operate in the same way.

1. If I could go, then I would go.

2. If I could have gone, then I would have gone.

Even 3., while not common, is possible.

3. If I could have gone, then I could have gone.

Substituting 'had' takes away the emotive feeling put there by the modal verbs. If modal can be used then there are no grammatical reasons to exclude . There are semantic reasons that do exclude modals from some collocations but that's got to do with meaning/semantics, not grammar.

Not worrying about these errant prescriptions is what has, what still causes all these problems.

I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer I gave some moments ago:

Mixed Conditionals

MrP
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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?)

*** IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ *** {JJT's responses marked off by ++ ... ++} ***

++ Let's drop , Jack, as there are differences between the BrE and AmE/CdE that will needlessly complicate things.

1A. I could have made half a grand if they had it in stock.

This is fine. It points to the condition that is ongoing. They don't have it in stock, still.

1B. I could have made half a grand if they had had it in stock.

This too is fine. Here the difference is the speaker is focusing on the one time that they checked. It all depends on the speaker's focus. ++

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?)

++ # 1 wasn't incorrect, as I've shown you. ++

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?)

++ No; it's modal present perfect + simple past FORM. ++

4. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have been in jail.

(This is past simple+past perfect.

++ No, this is (subjunctive be past FORM + modal present 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?)

++ Again, this is correct. The speaker focus has simply shifted away from the one instance, that is expressed by, to something like,
Mr P,

I would much prefer it if you would address those deficiencies that occur in your argument, your position.
Thanks MrPedantic and just the truth, you guys have been very helpful. I have seen the mixed conditionals all the time on time, so strictly speaking, it is not correct right? Like on exams, it is better to use the standards?
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I have seen the mixed conditionals all the time on time, so strictly speaking, it is not correct right? Like on exams, it is better to use the standards?


They are perfectly correct, Jack. Test situations are not able to set out as full a context as is necessary to make these types of nuancial decisions, so we naturally go to the default.

Let's give Mr P a bit more time though to formulate his comments on this important issue.
Like on exams, it is better to use the standards?

Hello Jack

I would say that the mixed conditionals you've used as examples are incorrect. If I found them in text I was editing or revising, for instance, I would silently change them to the 'corrected' versions, as given above. I wouldn't use them in exams or in conversation.

Just the Truth would say they're fine. He would not correct them. (I'm not sure whether he would use them in exams or conversation.)

The advantage of the corrected forms I've given is that no one will call them incorrect. The advantage of your original forms, according to JT, is that sometimes they express meanings that are not available through the corrected forms.

Some people would agree with me. Some people would agree with JT.

(But most people have probably stopped listening to either of us!)

MrP
If these are not correct, why? What do they mean?

1. I guess I would need another engine if I wanted to try and see if my
engine is the problem or not?

2. I guess I would need another engine if I wanted to try and see if my
engine was the problem or not?

3. I guess I would need another engine if I want to try and see if my
engine is the problem or not?

4. I guess I would need another engine if I want to try and see if my
engine was the problem or not?

Do I have one conditional or two for those sentences? I have two "if's" in my
sentences, so how do they work?

Thanks.
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Hi, Jack.

The second "if" is an indirect (yes-no) question construction corresponding to "Is/Was my engine the problem?" In such cases you can substitute "whether" for "if". As such it is distinctly different from the first "if", which does introduce a condition.

There is almost certainly a way to contextualize every one of the four examples you've presented. Some people are more clever than others at doing that! They believe that by finding some context, no matter how unusual, in which a sentence might be said, that they have somehow contributed to the discussion - not by answering the original question, but by amusing everyone else at how clever they are - or how clever they think they are, at any rate - and sometimes they are right about that.

Some of these "solutions" will focus on the subtle differences between the "is" and the "was", between the "want" and the "wanted". Some of these "solutions" will involve accusations and finger-pointing, saying that others' solutions are wrong. Some of these "solutions" will be given all sorts of labels, such as "unscientific", "scientific", "descriptive", "prescriptive" (and even "prescriptivistic", which it's hard to imagine is even an English word!), but when it comes down to it, all the sentences say the same thing, to the point where it's hardly worth your trouble to agonize over them or to listen to the rest of us bicker over them - unless that's your purpose, of course! Go read a good book, and you'll learn more useful English in a few hours than you will in days of discussing the "is"s and "was"s in these examples.

In the meantime, what comes off my tongue smoothest is the second sentence you showed, if it's any help to you to know that -- and it should be, because imitating native speakers is one of the best ways to learn a language.

And for the others listening in, yes, the "prescriptive solution" is the second sentence, and yes, I intuitively feel that the second sentence is the best, and no, just because these two coincide does NOT mean that I chose what I chose BECAUSE it matches the "prescriptive solution". I chose it because I like it best! I chose it because that's the way I'd like to hear it from others who speak my language.

That really does bring up another different point, and one which has not yet been addressed in this forum. I suppose there is a name for it, but for want of it just now, let me just say that to me it's the when-you-ask-what-time-it-is-do-you-really-want-a-lecture-on-how-the-watch-is-made question. And I'm waiting for a more opportune time to hold forth on it. Enough for now!

Emotion: smile

Take care,
Jim
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