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Scenario: There is a sale for this Sony LCD and it's $300. I bought it for $350 back then.

Are these correct? What do they mean?
1. I would save $50 if I hadn't bought that LCD back then.
2. I would have saved $50 if I hadn't bought that LCD back then. (Is it incorrect to use past perfect here? I wouldn't have saved anything back then right? It wasn't on sale before? So should I use the present tense imaginary 'would' instead? It is on sale now?)

Thanks.
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Comments  (Page 3) 
Paco:
"Any time ahead of now" is "future" in the physical sense. In reality, "grammatical future" is not built in English. The times conceived by old Anglo-Saxons were only two: present and past. This is the reason why English speaking people have contrived many ways to express "future"; "be to do", "be doing", "be going to do", "will/shall do". And it looks like the ways for expressing "future" in English are still now drifting.

JTT: I'm sorry, Paco but it appears that you have completely misunderstood not only what I said, but the historical aspects as well. We're not talking about how English handles the "future tense". I'm well aware of the grammatical aspects that that entails.

We're talking about when those future markers are applied. You mistakenly thought, I hope you still don't think so, that these future markers aren't applied until we get some ways into the future, like in an hour or tomorrow, or next week. The future comes as fast as one key stroke ahead of the one I'm hitting noW"."

The future was a period. I've marked it for you with quotation marks.

JTT - before:
If you can't let go of old mistakes, Paco, and you want to go on believing them, I can't help you, but to do so only puts your true understanding of English at peril.

Paco:
Thank you, but I'll take it as an opinion from a native speaker rather than from an English teacher.

JTT: Your second mistake of the day, Paco. Don't get yourself all riled up just because you're dismayed to find that things you've long believed to be true are, in actuality, false. That won't help you become a better user/speaker/writer of English, Paco.
Humm

Thank you, JTT, but I don't think I made any serious mistake today. Frankly speaking I didn't get riled up. How about you? As for my English learning, it's merely my hobby. So it matters nothing if I can't become a better user of English. But I wish you would be a better teacher of English, I mean, more kind, more persuasive and in more organized ways when you are answering to students' questions.

paco
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By the way I have a feeling that English 'now' (in the linguistic sense, not in the physical sense) is not instantaneous, but it seems to occupy some span in the time that flows from the past to the future. Otherwise I cannot understand the usage of the present progressive tense.

paco
Hello again Jack

1. If you didn't do it , you wouldn't have to worry

This would be used in the following situation:

A: I took my dad's car keys again yesterday.
B: Are you crazy? Do you remember what he did with that baseball bat, last time you took his car keys?
A: I know. That's what worrying me.
B: Look, if you didn't keep taking his car keys, you wouldn't have to worry, would you?

In other words, B is suggesting an alternative approach, for A's future conduct: 'not taking the keys'. Therefore he uses the type 2 conditional, which presents it as 'unreal'.

2. If you hadn't done it, you wouldn't have to worry

This is a slightly different situation:
A: I took my dad's car keys again yesterday.
B: Are you crazy? Do you remember what he did with that baseball bat, last time you took his car keys?
A: I know. That's what worrying me.
B: Well, if you hadn't done it, you wouldn't have to worry.

Here, B is talking about the possibility of not having taken the car keys yesterday: he uses a type 3 conditional, to talk about a past that didn't happen.

But you want this situation: 'My dad asks me if I took his car key yesterday':

A: Hey! did you take my car keys yesterday?
B: What makes you think I took your car keys? You always think I took your car keys!
A: Do you see this baseball bat? Yes or no?
B: What are you going to do with that baseball bat?
A: If you didn't take my car keys, you don't need to worry about what I'm going to do with the baseball bat, do you?

This draws a present conclusion from a past action. In a type 2, the past tense in the IF clause is used to denote timeless 'remoteness' or 'unreality'. But here, it's a literal past tense: it relates to yesterday, not 'unreal' AnyTime.

If the past tense in the IF clause is literal, it's not a type 2. The usual conditional structure is:

2. If X, then Y.

But in this statement, the structure is:

3. If X, I infer Y.

Does that help?
MrP
Paco:
By the way I have a feeling that English 'now' (in the linguistic sense, not in the physical sense) is not instantaneous, but it seems to occupy some span in the time that flows from the past to the future. Otherwise I cannot understand the usage of the present progressive tense.

JTT: I didn't make any reference to 'now' and the present progressive, Paco. Different 'tense', different usage. The present progressive encompasses a different part of the time spectrum than does a future marker. In order to discuss anything that is going to happen ahead of 'now', no matter how small that time frame is, requires a future marker.

Bringing this discussion back to the issue at hand, Pastel and I would guess, a large number of ESLs are operating under the mistaken notion that, "I would save $20" has a past time meaning and that it can collocate with "if I hadn't bought. We now can see it doesn't and that it can't. We should also be able to see that word choice also has a dramatic effect on what "tense" is chosen.

I believe this aspect is a crucial to helping Jack and other ESLs really grasp these differences. For as long as I've been here, Jack has been confused by these "tense" differences.

Why can't 'save' be used without a modal perfect, but these two are okay,

a) I would have 20 bucks more NOW if I hadn't bought it.

b) I would be ahead 20 bucks NOW if I hadn't bought it.

Because a) and b) have meanings that point to a present state, a present condition while 'save' has a meaning that can only point to that finished time when something was bought.

Let me repeat what the Longman Grammar of Written and Spoken English states as regards the modal verbs in modern English. This is crucial to Jack and Pastel and many other ESLs grasping the meanings of these sentences. They have been misled for much too long.

++++++++++++
"As already noted (6.2.1), English verbs phrases can be marked for either tense or modality, but not both."

" ... we regard modal verbs as unmarked for tense."

Longman Grammar of Written and Spoken English [LGWSE]
++++++++++++++

Here is what is on the back cover of the LGWSE.

"Some aspects of traditional grammar are challenged by this book, and some findings, not even suspected before now, will surprise and interest the reader.

The way language is used in conversation is quite different from the way language is used in fiction, which in turn is very different from the grammatical characteristics of newspapers or academic books."

David Crystal - "For the foreseeable future anyone with a serious interest in English grammar will have to take into account the information this book contains."
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Well, I think we have a contender for the Most Patronising Post of the Year Award.

To judge by the advertising blurb at the end, it appears to be sponsored by Longman.

MrP
Sometimes you just have to head 'em up,
'n' move 'em out. Hya!
rollin' rollin' rollin'...
That isn't such bad advice, for conditional clauses.

'Don't try to understand 'em,
Just rope and throw and brand 'em...'

(Ellipses are becoming an affliction.)

MrP
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