Is it correct to say......

If I had have known that, I would have .............
If you had have told me then I ...........

OR is it correct to say.....

If I would have known that, I would have .............
If you would have told me then I ...........

It would be very helpful if someone could help me out here.....thanks.

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Comments  (Page 2) 
JTT: There are two issues here and I'm not avoiding that raised by Mr P. I've been thinking and pondering how to address Mr P. TD's is just easier to handle so here we go.

Issue1): If S would have ...

Issue 2): If I'd have ...

Let's stay with issue 1) for now.


TD: It is true that many native speakers (including myself) would say (but never write) things like:

"If I'd 've been there, none of this would have happened."

which expanded, is:

If I would have been there, none of this would have happened.

Of course, grammatically it should be:

If I had been there, none of this would have happened.

I'm wondering if anyone can shed some light on why native speakers are so tempted to change a simple "had" into a "would have" in sentences like this one.


JTT: First off, we have to get rid of this pernicious rumor that some structures are grammatical and others are not. ENLs do not speak ungrammatically. There are different life situations which demand differing language choices. {don't anyone fly off the handle and go to the absurd, eg. "I is ..."}

Choosing formal language structures in casual situations will make one sound like a boob. By the same token, choosing everyday speech patterns for formal writing is not acceptable. Comparing the two is futile; speech is speech and even it has varying levels of register. Writing is writing and it too has varying levels of "register".

But both are fully grammatical. Some patterns simply are not SFE [Standard Formal English]. But, and this is IMPORTANT, VERY IMPORTANT. All sensible people know that the rules of SFE are more writing specific, they do not govern how we speak. One more point; telling ESLs that SFE is what is appropriate for speech is highly misleading. It will, as the CGEL says, leave them sounding very unnatural, like people reading out of a book.

Now to TD's question.

gets a knock from PGs but they never provide reasons why it's unacceptable. We know it's used for the volitional,

If you would be so kind, ...

If you'd [if you will] bring the beer, I'll get the ...

We know it's used by highly competent native speakers {Taiwan Dave for one, me too] all the time. How do we know? Dave said so.Emotion: wink

1A) If you would have been kind ... VERSUS 2A) If you had been kind ...

SHED SOME LIGHT: I state, though I have, at this point, no research to back me up, that 1A) is more emotive while 2A) is used more as a neutral statement of fact. This is similar in nature to, {though not strictly applicable to this issue} the emotive difference between,

Do you have a pen? and Have you got a pen? Remember the milk council ads; Got milk! which is really "Have you got milk?" The more neutral, "Do you have milk?" just wouldnt work for the ad.

Do some uses of sound strange, no doubt about it. This shouldn't come as any surprize for modal meanings can shift quickly and dramatically.

Other modals are used with , for example; If S /could/could have // If S should // If S might ... . We know is used with for volitional, so it's not ungrammatical. Can these, do these see widespread use; again no, definitely not. I say this is because of, let's call it, modal complexity. It's a question of semantics, of meaning; it's not a question of grammaticality.

Again, pull up the proofs justifying this prohibition. I'm a bit surprized that we've seen none so far in this thread but not really shocked 'cause I've never seen any offered other times this issue has come up.

2. 'If I'd've known it was incorrect, I would have told you' (= 'If I would have known...').
JTT: There is no grammatical reason to suggest that 2 must mean . I believe it to be an intensifier as we also hear it, even in relatively formal situations as,

"Had I have known it was ... " OR "If I had've known it was ... "

This quote seems at variance with the gist of your response to TD, JTT.

Have you relinquished 'if I had have'?

If so, we can move on to your other suggestions.

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Perhaps a new thread would be in order, Mr P, addressing Issue 2). I don't have time to do too much more. Long flight tomorrow, things to get ready. I'll get back to you and this issue.

I have to track down an article by an Aussie linguist on Issue 2).


JTT: There are two issues here and I'm not avoiding that raised by Mr P. I've been thinking and pondering how to address Mr P. TD's is just easier to handle so here we go.

Issue1): If S would have ...

Issue 2): If I'd have ...
Hello JT

It's your forum, so please free to start a new thread on #2.

One thought: I'd've quite liked to go back to your other points after dealing with #2. It's possible that similar questions will arise. So it may be tidier to keep both 'threads' here. But it's up to you.

I look forward to reading the Aussie linguist's view. I hear the hoofbeats of C15 Arthurians.
{don't anyone fly off the handle and go to the absurd, eg. "I is ..."}

Now this one would make an interesting new thread. Why absurd, I wonder.


Edit: March 2007

I'm now quite doubtful about my response to the original question.

I post here an answer to a similar question, which I posted elsewhere, and which I hope is more useful:

"If I'd've known" ("if I had have known") is quite common in spoken English, but much less so in written English.

It is non-standard (i.e. you would not generally see it in a book or newspaper, or use it in an essay or job application, except perhaps when quoting actual speech).

It has the same meaning as "If I had known", but seems to turn up in especially emphatic contexts. You often hear it in combination with "only", e.g. "If only I'd've known!".

Other variants include: "Had he have known..." and "If I hadda known".

The grammar is very mysterious. The structure itself is old (there is an example of the structure "had he not have done X" in the works of Thomas Malory, a 15th century writer); of these uses, the OED says (from memory, so it may not be exact) that "in the 15th and 16th centuries occur many examples of redundant 'have' in the compound tenses".


I wonder whether such structures are the remnant of a perfect infinitive construction, from which the "to" has since been elided, e.g.

1. If I could (to) have known,...
2. If he might (to) have known,...
3. If he had (to) have known,...

But I have never seen any research to support this idea.


You also hear "If he would have done X,...", which has the same meaning as "If he had done X" (though sometimes with more sense of "willing"). This is also non-standard, at least in BrE.

Just The Truth>However, it's still generally considered incorrect to use 'would have' directly after 'if'. (The correct version in this case is 'if I had known that'.)

JTT: It may be considered incorrect bu that doesn't make it so. is used volitionally after and it is also used in other emotive senses. There is never any reason offered for why it's incorrect.

works, so grammatically there's nothing wrong with.

would have for had. In spoken English, there is a growing tendency to use would have in place of the subjunctive had in contrary-to-fact clauses, such as If she would have (instead of if she had) only listened to me, this would never have happened. But this usage is still widely considered an error in writing. Only 14 percent of the Usage Panel accepts it in the previously cited sentence, and a similar amount—but 16 percent—accepts it in the sentence I wish you would have told me about this sooner.

The American Heritage® Book of English Usage.
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This thread is quite old. Time to retire it, I think.