Which of the following sentences is correct?

If I knew Mary was coming, I would have gone to the the airport to welcome her.

If I had known Mary was coming, I would have gone to the the airport to welcome her.
1 2 3 4 5
Comments  (Page 3) 
We say a lot of ungrammatical things when speaking, partly because we change our mind about what to say as we speak and partly because we clarify with the tone of voice and body language. However, as a well-constructed sentence I'm used to saying, and hearing, an exchange like this:
Why didn't you speak to him?
Because I didn't see him! If I'd seen him, of course I'd have spoken to him!

Of course mixed conditionals are possible as other posters have said.
No they're not Yoong Liat.

Most songwriters don't write songs with the intention of seeing them end up in EFL/ESL classrooms as examples grammatical structures!
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I agree Tanit.

The example I gave about the past perfect versus past simple delayed plane came directly from a New Headway Intermediate Workbook exercise that I remember having to explain to students because the answer key ONLY gave the past perfect as the 'correct' answer, when clearly both are possible.
Hi Tanit,

No I wouldn't say that for me personally that mixed conditionals are never acceptable in writing - however, written and spoken English do display different characteristics.

I think that many native speakers feel that when they commit something to paper or the computer screen, then all of their English classes that they had often ignored as a youth come back to haunt them and they suddenly realise that things don't either make sense or 'sound good' when they look at them; due to them changing their ideas midstream as J Lewis mentioned.

Therefore they often go back to the drawing board and start editing and changing what they have written.

This is why writing and speech are very different as writing allows us to edit what we want to say, look for synonyms, etc whereas in speech we can't do this 'after the fact', but only in advance before when have spoken - which is much more difficult.

Don't forget that the main difference with writing is that the communicator is usually not present when it is being read, therefore everything must be clarified using grammar in advance; whereas during a conversation, as the communicator is present, he or she can clarify as they go along, when asked for clarification, or when the other person they are speaking to looks confused.

This is why spoken English is much less grammatically complex (i.e. using fewer tenses), but shows a higher frequency of lexical chunks or blocks of language, and is full of things that if transcribed would be classed as 'errors' when compared to the 'rules' of written grammar.

Remember that spoken English isn't just written English 'said out loud', but operates under different 'rules', many of which we are now only just beginning to understand, as until recently we have never had the means to record the sheer volume of natural speech and to start analysing it...

A step in the right direction to understanding these differences is the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English', published a few years ago, which is the beginning of the (long) process of mapping the differences between these two distinct forms.

Hope that helps...
I'd like to suggest you all read MM's posting here:

Please correct me if I am wrong
(btw, is that a related thread or what!Emotion: smile)

I feel it's quite instructive in terms of the acceptance of some of these constructions.
He seems to be on the conservative side, and I certainly don't mind thatEmotion: smile
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Marius HancuI'd like to suggest you all read MM's posting here:
He seems to be on the conservative side, and I certainly don't mind thatEmotion: smile

Neither do I! Thank you MM!

So the sentence is not correct ... Emotion: smile

And I'd like to believe that the Flat Earth Society is correct, but it's not!

By all means accept the Elementary/Intermediate English coursebook point of view, rather than what is really true.

However, bear in mind that this limited view of conditional structures is not correct and as soon as you study at the Upper Intermediate level or above, even the coursebooks that you use will tell you about mixed conditionals.

Mixed conditionals are not a secret, they just don't sit happily with people who prefer the 'Grammar McNugget' ideas of Pedagogical English Language Grammar Teaching and like things in black or white rather than what is actually true.

I'm surprised that people seem to be ignoring the real grammar of English in favour of Intermediate Level Pedagogical Grammar. Mind you, as the old saying goes 'Horses for courses...'
One thing needs clarifying. Mixed conditionals are pefectly valid if that is their real meaning. I think that all along the more "conservative" grammarians have been contesting their use where they are not appropriate.

If I hadn't robbed the bank (then) I wouldn't be in prison (now) is a perfectly correct mixed conditional.
If I didn't trust you (in general) I wouldn't have told you the secret (yesterday) is again a correct mixed conditional.

If you were there you would have laughed is an "incorrect" mixed conditional because both parts refer to the past.

The conditional sequences as presented in the text-books illustrate the basic use and meaning of their main and subordinate clauses. Once that is clear they can be used in all kinds of ways, e.g.:
If you're going to the supermarket now, I would have been stupid to go there earlier.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
From my experience, the most objections are faced by those verbal forms which can lead to both present and past time interpretation, as

If I knew Mary was coming

If I knew Mary was coming (, I would go ot the airport. (present time))
If I knew Mary was coming (, I would have gone to the the airport to welcome her.
(past time))

because they don't tell the time straight away.
Show more