Hello.

I'm from Croatia and I had been learning English for 9 years before I started college. After that I have been reading and writing in English, thinking in English and dreaming in English. Now I'd like to start using my knowledge of the language to start writing proffessionally.

I have, however, been told that I have a problem with verb tenses. Perhaps you will also be able to detect other errors as I write my posts here. In any case, I'd like to correct these errors and finally learn how to use verb tenses properly.

I hope I'm in the right place for a little help and support. Emotion: smile

So, now introductions are done, I'd like to ask the question which was the tipping point of events that brought me here:

A person made a video of himself and used an effect on his face to make it look scary. He also wore glasses. Suppose I'm trying to make a small joke about it and say the glasses made him look even scarier. Of course, I want to say it a bit different and I'm not sure which tenses to use. Here's my best guess, hopefully you can make something of it:

"That scary face you made wouldn't have been half as scary if you hadn't worn glasses."

Are these correct tenses to use here, and why? If not, which are and why?

Also, does the way I use "wouldn't" and "hadn't" constitute a double negative? If so, is it OK to leave it like that for the purpose of making it clear that this is supposed to be a joke?

Thanks,

Nikola
Are these correct tenses to use here, and why? If not, which are and why? Also, does the way I use "wouldn't" and "hadn't" constitute a double negative? If so, is it OK to leave it like that for the purpose of making it clear that this is supposed to be a joke?-- The verb forms are fine, but the two negatives make it impossible to understand what you mean. Did the glasses make him more scary or less scary??
Nikola Novak"That scary face you made wouldn't have been half as scary if you hadn't worn glasses."
This is correct and natural.
It's a conditional structure comprising two separate clauses.

In order for there to be a double negative, both negatives would need to be in the same clause.

Even if that were the case, the sentence would not necessarily be incorrect.

It's sometimes a bit tough to explain why something is correct.

So, now that introductions are done, etc. I wouldn't skip the "that," even in casual conversation.

But there are many cases where "that" gets skipped.

Of course, I want to say it a bit differently, and etc.

(I'm taking advantage of your invitation!) Emotion: smile

Welcome to English Forums, Nikola. Thanks for joining us!

Edit. I don't find the ambiguity MrM mentions.

My understanding from your example sentence is that the person is wearing glasses.

Maybe I'll see it later.
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Hello, Avangi!

Thank you for your reply. I have a few follow-up questions, if you don't mind.

You said that the sentence I wrote was correct and natural. The first clause has present perfect continuous because it is talking about an action which is over and it influenced the present. The second clause has past perfect simple which is used to denote an action taking place before a certain time in the past. In the context of the sentence I wrote, what is this "certain time"?

Sentences like this one tend to confuse me when I'm checking my tenses and I get them wrong at times, so I think I really need to learn from examples at this point. I'll be posting some more sentences I need help with (usually I write them myself in my stories). Also, are there any exercises or on-line exams I can take?

AvangiI wouldn't skip the "that," even in casual conversation.
But there are many cases where "that" gets skipped.
Is there a rule to this, or is it just preference? I don't see it (possibly because I may in some cases be the victim of Internet jargon), but does some meaning or clarity get lost because "that" is skipped?

Avangi(I'm taking advantage of your invitation!)
You're welcome to it. In fact, thank you for taking it. Emotion: smile

AvangiI don't find the ambiguity MrM mentions.
My understanding from your example sentence is that the person is wearing glasses.

Maybe I'll see it later.
Please say if you do.

Thank you for the response and the welcome.

Hello, Mister Micawber.

The sentence is supposed to say the glasses made him more scary, but that's a joke. They actually made him look funny. So, my question is whether it's OK to leave the two negatives? I tend to think that this kind of word play hints at the hidden sarcasm; it's worked for me in spoken language, but I'm not sure if people get it in written form. Avangi has seen the actual meaning of the sentence, but I'm not sure if he understood the joke. You say you couldn't even see the real meaning of the sentence, which is a bit discouraging.

Any thoughts? How would you have written the sentence?

Thanks,

Nikola
Nikola Novakwouldn't have been half as . . . . . if you hadn't . . . . .
About the ambiguity -
This structure was very common among my family and friends.

It works the same as "Your performance wouldn't have been so bad if you hadn't tripped over the coffee table."

(That action made it worse.)

"It wouldn't have been so bad if you had apologized." (That failure to act made it worse.)

That scary face you made wouldn't have been half as scary if you had worn glasses.

(This assumes that the guy didn't wear glasses. Glasses would have made him less scary.)

Okay, I see MrM's point. Why does "wouldn't have been half as bad" equal "wouldn't have been so bad"?

Without familiarity with the expression, there'd be no way to tell.

(wouldn't have been even half as bad)

It wouldn't have been half as exciting without the fireworks!

Perhaps it's casual, or colloquial, or regional.

Sorry about that. Emotion: embarrassed - A.
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Nikola NovakSentences like this one tend to confuse me when I'm checking my tenses and I get them wrong at times, so I think I really need to learn from examples at this point.
Conditionals are not exactly my favorite subject. The topic has been extensively codified for English learners by the ESL community.
Your example sentence doesn't fit any of the standard conditional forms, as far as I know. Perhaps someone else can help. Of course there are many other ways to express your thought, but I don't think that's what you're looking for.
Nikola NovakYou said that the sentence I wrote was correct and natural. The first clause has present perfect continuous because it is talking about an action which is over and it influenced the present. The second clause has past perfect simple which is used to denote an action taking place before a certain time in the past. In the context of the sentence I wrote, what is this "certain time"?
That scary face you made wouldn't have been half as scary if you hadn't worn glasses.

The finite verb in the main clause is "to be." We conclude that the face was scary at some time in the past. The decision to wear the glasses was made before that.

If you had [not] done X, [then] Y would have been different.

There's nothing wrong with using a present perfect (completed) event to mark the certain time in the past.

The modal auxilliary and the conditional structure add a bit of intrigue to the "past perfect/present perfect" mechanics, but it doesn't really change anything, as far as I can see.
Nikola NovakSo, now introductions are done, I'd like to ask the question . . . .
My objection to this is based mainly on my old native ear. If I heard someone say it, I'd suspect their education had been neglected.

The only technical problem I see is that "Introductions are done." is a complete stand-alone sentence. You need the "that" to make clear that it's only an introductory remark.

Sometimes I hear the structure casually tagged on the end: We'll be able to resume the hunt now sun is up.

But at the beginning, we usually use the "that": Now that [the] sun's up, we'll be able to resume the hunt.

Some people leave out a lot of words. There are different standards of correctness.

If you can find an example in a formal sentence without the "that," I'll be happy to look at it.

As I said earlier, "that" is omitted in many formal situations, but I don't think this is one of them.