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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  
Hello Jack

If we suppose that the Sony LCD is a special offer – $300! reduced from $350! – then:

1. I would save $50 if I hadn't bought that LCD back then.

This conflates two thoughts:

1a. I would save $50 if I bought that LCD now, because it's reduced from $350.
1b. But I can't buy that LCD now, because I've already got one.

Which =

1c. If hadn't bought that LCD back then, I would save $50.

As it stands, #1 is slightly confusing for the listener, as the main clause ('I would save') gives an impression that you still regard the 'saving' as a possibility.

But to clarify your intended meaning, you could use a past perfect IF with a progressive 'would':

1d. If I hadn't bought that LCD back then, I would now be saving $50.


#2 is a type 3 conditional, and would be understood; but again, there's an ellipsis in the sense. If you imagine sentence #1 being said as you stare in the shop window, and sentence #2 being said as you walk sadly away, it may bring out the meaning:

2a. If hadn't bought that LCD back then, I would have saved $50.

MrP
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.

JTT: This is simply nonsensical, Jack. No one needs grammar to tell them that once some money has been spent, it is impossible to save it.

You can however say,

I would NOW be $50 richer if I hadn't bought that LCD back then. [because I envision that I would buy the sale priced item]

As I mentioned to Pieanne and you'll see more on this later in the linguistics forum, often the choice of words, ie. the meaning determines the structure. We see that here in this case.

=

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?)

JTT: The "saving" doesn't have to have occurred "back then". The speaker is speaking now about a failed possibility.

TRUE: I bought the LCD when it was priced at $350. It's now on for $300.

COUNTERFACTUAL: If I hadn't bought it then, I wouldn't have spent as much money overall as if I were to buy one now at the sale price.
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I have a little problem here. I don't know if I should use past tense or past perfect for asking questions.

Scenario: My dad asks me if I took his car key yesterday and he says:

Which one should I use? Why? How do I know which one I should use?
1. If you didn't do it , you wouldn't have to worry
2. If you hadn't done it, you wouldn't have to worry

For the question about, should I have used #4 instead of #3? What do they mean? How do I know which one to use?
3. Scenario: My dad asks me if I took his car key yesterday and he says:
4. Scenario: My dad asks me if I had taken his car key yesterday and he says:

Thanks.
Are these correct? What do they mean?
1. I would save $50 if I hadn't bought that LCD back then.

JTT: This is simply nonsensical, Jack. No one needs grammar to tell them that once some money has been spent, it is impossible to save it.



Hi, JTT!

I don't get your meaning here.

I would save some dollars if I hadn't bought Panasonic DC-FX7. I have to learn to make peace with it now.

Pastel
Hello Jack

I would use this form, instead of the ones you suggest:

'Did you take my car keys yesterday, Jack?'
'Well...'
'Look, if you didn't take them, you don't have to worry. But if you did take them, you're in big trouble.'

For the question, you could use #3. Or you could say:

'My dad wants to know if I took his car keys yesterday. So he says...'

MrP
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How come I can just use past tense? Or there are no conditionals here? Why don't I need past perfect to refer to an past event?

For example:
Conditional #3:
1. If I hadn't done that, that would have never happened. <---I have past perfect here? How come for my post above I can just use past tense? I cannot use past perfect? Why not? I'm dumbfounded about this.

For the my post above, I view past tense like it's conditional #2. And isn't conditional #2, present imaginary? No past tense?

Thanks,
Hello Jack

Looks you are still stuck to conditionals.

Conditionals can be sorted into two kinds according to situations;

Neutral Conditional
The speaker doesn't know whether the protasis (= the event stated in the if-clause) is true or untrue.
type #1... indicative mood is used in the if clause.
[1] If it rains tomorrow, I will stay home. :
* Here the statement in the if-clause is about a future event.
* The speaker doesn't know whether the if-statement is true or untrue.
[2] If you didn't attend the class yesterday, you can't take the exam.
If you attended the class yesterday, you can take the exam.
* Here the statement in the if-clause is about a past event.
* The speaker doesn't know whether the if-statement is true or untrue.

Unreal Conditional
The speaker knows that the protasis (=statement in the if-clause) is untrue.
type #2, type #3... subjunctive mood is used in the if clause.
[3] If you were brighter than Einstein, you could pass any kind of math exam.
* Here the statement in the if-clause is about a present event.
* The speaker well knows that the if-statement is untrue.
[4] If I had been a millionaire when I was young, I would have proposed to Marilyn Monroe.
* Here the statement in the if-clause is about a past event.
* The speaker well knows that the if-statement is untrue.

paco
Pastel:

Hi, JTT!

JTT: Hi, Pastel.

P:
I don't get your meaning here.

I would save some dollars if I hadn't bought Panasonic DC-FX7. I have to learn to make peace with it now.

JTT: As I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread;

"As I mentioned to Pieanne and you'll see more on this later in the linguistics forum, often the choice of words, ie. the meaning determines the structure. We see that here in this case."

"I would save some dollars" contains a future meaning, NOT a past meaning. is NOT a past tense here. REMEMBER, modal verbs are tenseless.

So the "choice of words", in this case 'save' forces us to use the modal perfect, "would have +PP", to show a past time meaning.

I then stated in that earlier thread;

"You can however say,

I would NOW be $50 richer if I hadn't bought that LCD back then. [because I envision that I will buy the sale priced item]"

A: That radio is $100.

B: How about giving me a 20% discount.

A: Weeeeellll okay.

B: [to friend] I saved 20 bucks on this radio!

*I would save 20 bucks on this radio!*

This is ungrammatical for this situation, Pastel, because the meaning with is future, so it makes the utterance nonsensical for the situation.
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