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If I Would Have vs. If I Had

Reprinted with permission by Editor Laura Lawless, http://www.elearnenglishlanguage.com/.

When talking about something that didn’t happen in the past, many English speakers use the conditional perfect (if I would have done) when they should be using the past perfect (if I had done).

For example, you find out that your brother saw a movie yesterday. You would have liked to see it too, but you hadn’t known he was going. To express this, you can use an if-then clause. The correct way to say this is with the past perfect in the “if” clause, and the conditional perfect in the “then” clause:

Correct: If I had known that you were going to the movies, [then] I would have gone too.

The conditional perfect can only go in the “then” clause — it is grammatically incorrect to use the conditional perfect in the “if” clause:

Incorrect: If I would have known that you were going to the movies, I would have gone too.

More examples:

Correct: If I had gotten paid, we could have traveled together.
Correct: Had I gotten paid, we could have traveled together.

Incorrect: If I would have gotten paid, we could have traveled together.

Correct: If you had asked me, I could have helped you.
Correct: Had you asked me, I could have helped you.

Incorrect: If you would have asked me, I could have helped you.

The same mistake occurs with the verb “wish.” You can’t use the conditional perfect when wishing something had happened; you again need the past perfect.

Correct: I wish I had known.

Incorrect: I wish I would have known.

Correct: I wish you had told me.

Incorrect: I wish you would have told me.

Correct: We wish they had been honest.

Incorrect: We wish they would have been honest.

Pop Quiz
Choose A or B.

1A. If I would have known you were sick, I could have brought you some meals.
1B. If I had known you were sick, I could have brought you some meals.

2A. If you had explained the objective, I could have completed the assignment sooner.
2B. If you would have explained the objective, I could have completed the assignment sooner.

3A. I wish it would have gone differently.
3B. I wish it had gone differently.

4A. We wish the team had scored more goals.
4B. We wish the team would have scored more goals.

Pop Quiz Answers

1B. If I had known you were sick, I could have brought you some meals.
2A. If you had explained the objective, I could have completed the assignment sooner.
3B. I wish it had gone differently.
4A. We wish the team had scored more goals.

Posted on Saturday, April 4, 2009, at 7:25 pm


131 Comments

131 Responses to “If I Would Have vs. If I Had

  1. Mike says:

    Thank you for your great articles about English study.

    I would like to share another useful way to improve English listening and pronunciation, using speech synthesis software. When people have access to Windows Vista, they can install a freeware on it which can be downloaded from http://www.panopreter.com or from download.com. Then Microsoft Anna wil speak and read files in English. It’s a wonderful English learning method.

  2. Adel Gabr says:

    Thank you very much for the valuable information but I still have the following question:
    When I want to ask about wishing something to have been happen in the future of the past like to say

    “If I would have known that you would become sick, I would, off course, not travel abroad”
    Or how about
    “If I would travel to Sweden, then it is only because to meet you there”
    Or
    “If you would be going to like it, I would have bought it for you, but I have known for sure that you would not”

    Thank you and Looking forward to hearing from you

    Kind regard

    Adel

    • Jane says:

      If I had known that you would become sick, I would, of course, not have traveled abroad. (Corrected on March 17, 2013)
      If I travel to Sweden, it is only because I wish to meet you there.
      If I thought you would like it, I would have bought it for you; but I knew that you would not.

  3. shadab says:

    its going to help me a lot to improve. thanx

  4. Mary Krimmel says:

    Jane’s first sentence (June 27) is incorrect. It should read “If I had known that …”

    The second sentence is correct.

    The third is slightly ambiguous in its intent, I believe. Either interpretation leaves the sentence incorrect.

    “If I had thought you would like it, … ” is correct
    Also correct is “If I thought you would like it, I would have bought if for you; but I know that you would not.”

    These grammatical constructions are not easy. I welcome comment.

    • Jane says:

      You are right! I should have written, “If I had known…” No excuses.
      I’m not sure which sentence you are referring to when you say “the third” sentence.
      I agree that “If I had thought…” and “If I thought…” could both be correct.

  5. Mariela says:

    I guess keeping your sentences short simple would help you not getting confused. here is my “correction”..

    “If you would be going to like it, I would have bought it for you, but I have known for sure that you would not”

    If I knew you’re going to like it, I should have bought it for you.

    • Jane says:

      You are close: If I had known you were going to like it, I would have bought it for you.

      • CER says:

        Regarding the correction of:

        If I knew you’re going to like it, I should have bought it for you.

        Reply
        Jane says:
        August 1, 2010, at 2:42 pm
        You are close: If I knew you were going to like it, I would have bought it for you.

        —–

        Is Jane’s response actually correct? My instinct would have been:
        If I had known you were going to like it, I would have bought it for you.

        Furthermore, in question 1 of your pop quiz, 1B corrects 1A’s “would have known” with “had known” rather than Jane’s “knew.”

        1A. If I would have known you were sick, I could have brought you some meals.
        1B. If I had known you were sick, I could have brought you some meals.

  6. Margaret says:

    These are tricky concepts and hard to get straight. Sentence 1 has several possible interpretations. First, it may refer to actions all taken in the past, in which case it should read, “If I had known (in the past) that you would become sick (in the past), I would not have traveled abroad (in the past.) The second interpretation is in the simple present and future, based on fact. This would read “Since I know you are sick, I won’t travel abroad.” The third is in the conditional future: “If I think (in the present) that you might (a possibility) become ill (in the future), I will not travel abroad (in the future).” This last would be better stated in a simpler construction, such as “I won’t go abroad if there is a possibility that you will get sick while I’m gone.”

    The second sentence is easier. It should read “If I travel to Sweden, it is only to meet you there.”

    The third sentence, as a previous writer has mentioned, is ambiguous and needs pruning. I’d leave out all the business about what might be, and stick to facts: “I would have bought this for you, but I knew you wouldn’t like it.” Even so, it’s a little odd. Why would you think of buying something for someone who wouldn’t like it? It’s unnecessary to say that.

    I’m glad to see that people are interested in getting these tenses right! I suggest a dinosaur of a grammar text: Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition Complete Course, available, I imagine, from used book suppliers. Look under Correct Form and Use of Verbs.

  7. Richard says:

    Very Informative… I was using the incorrect words so far… thank you so much.

  8. Mz says:

    Hello, Please help.

    What is the tense of the following verb/verbal phrase? ?

    “What do you think the girls would have had to do when they arrived home.”

    Context:
    I’m tutoring 4th grade students for whom English is a second language. They are able to read at a 4th grade level, but they are not able to answer awkwardly phrased comprehension questions. We read a short story about a not so typical school-day, afternoon. According to the story the girls’ mother picked them up after school, but instead of going right home as they usually do, they went to the pet shop! The girls picked out a hamster, and the family took their new pet home.

    Comprehension question:
    1. “What do you think the girls would have had to do when they arrived home.”

    The phrasing makes the question seem like it is asking, “Had the girls not gone to the store and / or picked out a hamster, what do you think the girls would have had to do when they arrived home?” – - And of course “would have had” implies that it there is a responsibility or force behind the action in question.

    Now, to a fourth grader what should say to break this down – and offer practice in interpreting. What are the parts of the verb?
    For example:
    1. would have
    2. had to + verb
    ?? Please advise

    How should one approach the phrase “would have had to do” ?

    • Jane says:

      The tense of this phrase is conditional perfect. It refers to an event that might have happened in the past. The “would have had to do” refers to a hypothetical event. I agree that it is a very complex sentence for an ESL student to understand. The sentence is asking the students to use their imagination to answer “If the girls brought a hamster home, what would they have had to do when they got it home?”

    • margey says:

      why don’t you just leave out the ‘would have”? “what do you think the girls had to do”? the story doesn’t have anything conditional implied or stated, it says what they actually did do. now that sentence sounded awkward.

      • Jane says:

        That is certainly a simple option, however, the writer was an ESL teacher who was trying to explain that particular sentence to a group of fourth-grade students.

  9. sandeep says:

    I want to say in present if i get something in future, i will help me

    It would be great help if I would have this data with me by coming monday

    • Jane says:

      I am not sure I understand your question. Here is an example of what I think you are trying to say:
      If I get a new computer, it will help me.

  10. N H Gautam says:

    for example : If I would have vs if had
    How to write as I should go vs
    I have to vs
    had to vs
    can vs etc

    please teach me

  11. qq says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAA……………its so heard to learn english it seeems ……..i wont b able to speak propEr english through out my life …m havein dippresion

  12. Aletia Moon says:

    What is correct:

    I wish I had Renea’s book before I began writting my first book.

    or

    I wish I would have had Renea’s book before I began writting my first book.

    Thank you! I hope you can help me out. I am submiting a blurb for a friends book.

  13. Milan says:

    It helped me a lot. Thanks.

  14. Christine says:

    Jane, your last answer is incorrect and contradicts the article above.

    **The correct phrase would be “I wish I had had Renea’s book before I began writing my first book”. ** You could also say “I wish I had read Renea’s book before I began writing my first book” to make it more clear that you not only had it in your possession, but also read it.

    The article above explains explicitly why “I wish I would have” is incorrect.

    Aletia, you are closer.
    -”I wish I had Renea’s book” would be correct if you were speaking in the present tense. However, you have added “before I began writing my first book”, which means you are talking about the past–the conditional past. For this, you must say “had” and then the past participle of the verb, which in this case is also “had”. Confusing? Here’s an example with a different verb. “I wish I had walked to the store before it started to rain”. “had” + past participle of “to walk” = “had walked”.

    Hope this helps, Aletia!

    • Jane says:

      It does seem that “I wish I had read Renea’s book before I began writing my first book” would be the best choice in this case. The use of “had had” does sound awkward, even though it is grammatically correct. Thanks, Christine, for catching my error. I wish I had taken more time before I answered Aletia’s inquiry!

  15. caryn says:

    “I wish I would have read Renea’s book” is incorrect.

    As indicated above, the conditional perfect (would + have + past participle) is used when explaining something that MIGHT have happened in the past IF other conditions had been met first.

    You can say:

    “I wish I had read Renea’s book before I began writing my first book.”
    OR
    “I wish I had read Renea’s book before writing my first book.”
    OR
    “I wish I had read Renea’s book before writing my own (or mine).”

    You may use the conditional perfect (would + have + read) in this way:

    “IF I had known about Renea’s book, I WOULD HAVE read it before writing my own.” In this case, it is understood that reading Renea’s book did not happen because the first condition (knowing about it) was not met.

  16. Jeff says:

    If I read this information earlier, I would have made fewer mistakes in my writing.

    (Although, in this case, it “feels” right to say “If I had read this information earlier…”)

  17. Athene says:

    One question: is this sentence okay?
    (The sentence is about the word “somebody” – which was used (“wrong”) by a friend of mine, by saying: “somebody special” – I think it should have been “someone special”, anyway i want it to be like that.

    PS. I dont want to be very specific in my sentence… it should not be easy to understand… (the meaning) but I’m not sure it is ok, from a gram. point of view.
    So here the sentence:

    If it’s ‘somebody’ … it could be ‘anybody’, but if it would have been “someone”, it could have been ‘the one’

    “If it’s ‘somebody’ .. it could be ‘anybody’ (NOW) , but if it would have been “someone” (PAST) , it could have been ‘the one’ (FUTURE-PRESENT, something that could have been true by now)

    Meaning: you were using the word “somebody” and thats why “anybody” could be ment by that word, but if you were using “someone”, you would probably refer to “the one” (the one you love for eg.)

    • Jane says:

      The conditional perfect (if it would have been) can only go in the “then” clause – it is grammatically incorrect to use the conditional perfect in the “if” clause. Therefore, I recommend rewriting the sentence to read:

      If it’s “somebody”…it could be “anybody,” but if it had been “someone,” it could have been “the one.”

      Use double quotation marks rather than single quotation marks for everything except quotations within quotations, with the comma going inside.

  18. I’m stuck on this…which would be correct?

    would have probably had
    or
    would probably have had

    or neither?!

  19. sj says:

    I have one query … what should i say if somebody probably saw me..
    he may have seen me. or
    might be he would have seen me…

    may” or might” are only for future tense ?

  20. Faizan says:

    Dear Jane,

    I need to thank my co worker for his help to complete a job for me. Is it correct if I wrote the following sentence?

    It wouldn’t have been possible for me to carry them out successfully if you hadn’t assisted me on it.

    • Jane says:

      Your sentence is not grammatically correct as written. It contains an error in pronoun agreement. The plural pronoun them is used, then later in the sentence it is changed to the singular pronoun it. The pronouns need to agree in number or simply drop the last two words of the sentence. Also, a note of appreciation makes more impact when it is more specific about what you are thanking the other person for. Was it a particular task or tasks, a step or steps that had to be taken, etc.? For instance: It wouldn’t have been possible for me to carry the tasks out successfully if you hadn’t assisted me on them. OR It wouldn’t have been possible for me to carry the tasks out successfully if you hadn’t assisted me.

  21. RichardP says:

    Hi Jane

    Please, I have a question … are both of these phrases correct and do they mean exactly the same thing?

    “If he had been thinner he probably wouldn’t have died”
    “Had he have been thinner he probably wouldn’t have died”

    • Jane says:

      The second sentence should be written:
      “Had he been thinner he probably wouldn’t have died.”
      The sentences do mean the same thing, since the “if” in the second sentence is implied.

  22. Arjun says:

    Hello,

    Among the following sentences which is correct?

    “Had you not been successful in life, would your present day convictions be the same?”
    OR
    “Had you not been successful in life, would your present day convictions have been the same?”

    Or are they both wrong? If so what is the correct usage?

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Jane says:

      In your second example, the use of have been indicates past tense when you are speaking of present day convictions.
      “Had you not been successful in life, would your present day convictions be the same?” is the correct usage.

  23. Taylor says:

    Dear Jane,

    Could you let me know which of the following is correct? Thanks.

    (1) If she had waited for five more minutes, she would have met her ex-boyfriend.
    (2) If she had waited for five more minutes, she would have had met her ex-boyfriend
    (3) If she had had waited for five more minutes, she would have had met her ex-boyfriend

    Thanks for your help.

  24. Faizan says:

    Thank you Jane for your assistance.

  25. Arjun says:

    thanks Jane!!

  26. Amber says:

    Is this correct…

    Keep smiling dear because that’s what your dad would have wanted u to do.

    • Jane says:

      Rule 4 in our “Commas” section says, “Use commas before or surrounding the name or title of a person directly addressed.” The word dear is used as a name in this instance, so there should be commas around it. There is discussion among experts right now on whether or not “terms of endearment” should be capitalized. If it is rare enough or used constantly in place of the person’s name, it could constitute a nickname and be capitalized. At present, there doesn’t appear to be a right or wrong to this question. Also, I realize that the use of u instead of you is popular for text messages, but it is not grammatically correct in written English.

      Keep smiling, dear, because that’s what your dad would have wanted you to do.

  27. Matt says:

    hey JANE i am still confused on “What do you think the girls would have had to do when they arrived home.”can’t i use “what would have they done when they arrived home” instead of “would have had to do when they arrived home”
    beacuse would can also be used in assumption,presumption

    • Jane says:

      Your sentence What would have they done when they arrived home? needs some slight rewording since the verb phrase is split incorrectly. It should read What would they have done when they arrived home? Regarding the previous commenter’s question, I agree that What do you think the girls would have done when they arrived home? is probably a better sentence choice than What do you think the girls would have had to do when they arrived home? Since the author of that sentence was an ESL tutor, perhaps she thought that the sentence would be easier for her students to understand written that way.

  28. Buffy says:

    I LOVE the website! I am a newcomer to it. (Just this year.) Regarding paragraph four: “If I had known you were going to the movies, I would have gone too.” Would “If I had known you were going to the movies, I would have liked have have gone, too” also have been correct?

  29. Maggie says:

    I really enjoy your tips regarding grammar but was surprised to see your use of the word “gotten”. I admit this is one of my pet hates. It is not used in Britain. In my grammar classes at school (admittedly a long time ago!) we were taught not to use the word “got” when writing as this was considered unnecessary and classed as slang. Your sentence “If I had gotten paid” – surely should read “If I had been paid”?

    • Jane says:

      The verb get is conjugated get–got–gotten in American English. There are certainly differences between American and British English that make formal writing look odd or awkward to the other. “If I had been paid” does sound good, but, to an American, “If I had gotten paid” sounds fine, too.

  30. khulood says:

    Some grmmar books and sites categorise “have to” as a modal of obligation, is this accurate? And so is it wrong to say that the past perfect of the following:’ I had to see her ‘ is ‘ I had had to see her’
    i need to know if had(1st sentence) is a main verb and ‘to see’ is an infinitive ; or if ‘had to’is a modal and ‘see’is the main verb.
    I would appreciate it if you could give other examples when explaining.
    Thank u!

    • Jane says:

      “Have to” is not a modal. Have is the main verb and when it is added to the word to plus an infinitive it means must. Example sentences include:

      I have to leave tomorrow.
      You have to see a doctor.

      It is correct to write “I had to see her.” Had is the main verb and to see is the infinitive.

  31. khulood says:

    I like this website a lot. Is there a way i can become a member or something?

  32. Marivic says:

    how to say it correctly?

    Sometimes I wish I have enough to help others or
    Sometimes I wish I had enough to help others

    • Jane says:

      Sentences using wish and if usually indicate Subjunctive Mode. The rule in our Subjunctive Mode blog states, “When using Subjunctive Mode with verbs besides were, use the past tense or past perfect tense.” Therefore, use the past tense had.

      Sometimes I wish I had enough to help others.

  33. geecay says:

    would you go if i have not cancelled the program.

    is it correct?????????

    • Jane says:

      Your sentence is an example of the subjunctive mode, which refers to the expression of a hypothetical, wishful, or imaginary thought. You need to use the past perfect form if I had not canceled along with the conditional form would have gone. Also, the word I should be capitalized and the American spelling of canceled uses only one l. In addition, your sentence needs a capital letter at the beginning and a question mark at the end.

      Would you have gone if I had not canceled the program?

  34. Bandana says:

    If i__(know) that they were honest, i’d have gladly lend them the money. unless you ___ (be)very sure of someone’s intention, you can not lend him your hard earned money.But for the want of money they___(ruin). If really ___(percieve)that they were so desperately in need of money, i___(do) best for them.If i ___(read) diary before, i would have known the whole truth.Unless you___(spend) time with someone you___(judge) them.

    • Jane says:

      Since you changed from the plural pronoun they to the singular pronoun him, I do not know if you are directing your paragraph to one single person or several people. This is how the paragraph would be written if you were speaking about one person (masculine):

      If I had known that he were honest, I would have gladly loaned him the money. Unless you are very sure of someone’s intention, you cannot lend him your hard-earned money. For the want of money he ruined a relationship. If I really thought that he was so desperately in need of money, I would do the best for him. If I had read the diary before, I would have known the whole truth. Unless you have spent time with someone, you should not judge him.

  35. Shah says:

    How many conditional sentence do we have in English ?

  36. cam'ron says:

    dear Jane can you plz hlp me with the rules on how to use ”would + have/had ” and if + pronoun+ had”

  37. MJ says:

    hello there, can u explain to me why is “I not have money” wrong? what are the rules of “do not” and “does not”

    • Jane says:

      Your sentence can be written two ways. In the simplest form it can be written “I have no money.” If you choose to write it as a negative statement, the auxiliary verb do is necessary with the main verb have. The sentence will then read “I do not have money.” More information about do and does can be found in our blog What Does vs. What Do. The pronouns I, you, we, and they are always used with do not. The pronouns he, she, and it are used with does not. Examples:

      I do not think it will rain tomorrow.
      You do not have enough gasoline.
      We do not want to attend the concert.
      They do not like sushi.
      She does not drive at night.
      He does not enjoy playing tennis.
      It does not need to be painted yet.

  38. yousef says:

    Dear Jane,
    I have read some articles about conditional type 2 and all of them were a single sentence.I need an extended answer.I mean more than one simple sentence as the tenses after the first sentence are confusing.Consider this question:
    Q:What would you do if you were me?
    A:I would make a list of my students and their phone’s number,then ?????
    1-have someone to call them randomly
    2-had someone to call them randomly
    3-would have someone to call them randomly.
    which one(s) is(are)correct?
    what is the rule?
    thanks in advance

    • Jane says:

      Our blog Subjunctive Mode addresses this question. This is an example of the subjunctive mode, which refers to the expression of a hypothetical, wishful, or imaginary thought. The rule is “Sentences using wish and if usually indicate subjunctive mode and require using were as the to be verb form.” The tense of the verbs after were are present tense. The same is true if you divide it as a question and answer. Also, the proper term is “phone numbers” and the word to is unnecessary before the word call.

      If I were you I would make a list of my students and their phone numbers, then have someone call them randomly.

      Q: What would you do if you were me?
      A: I would make a list of my students and their phone numbers, then have someone call them randomly.

  39. Gennady says:

    Dear Jane,
    I need your help. In ‘The Snow of Kilimanjaro’ by Ernest Hemingway I read such words: ‘If we would have hired a good mechanic instead of a half baked kikuyu driver, he would have checked the oil’. Isn’t it incorrect, ‘if we would have hired’? These are Harry’s words, he is a writer, he must write correctly, doesn’t he! It’s puzzled me! I live in Ukraine and learn English. Thank you for your answer.

    • Jane says:

      You are correct that the sentence is grammatically incorrect. It should read, “If we had hired a good mechanic instead of a half baked kikuyu driver, he would have checked the oil.” The Snows of Kilimanjaro is a work of fiction. In works of fiction, the characters’ words are not always grammatically correct. It does not mean that the author is not a good writer.

  40. Ari says:

    Dear Jane,

    Is it correct to say: “I wish you would had been at my graduation”

    Thank you,
    Ari

    • Jane says:

      Our blog If I Would Have… vs. If I Had… says, “You can’t use the conditional perfect when wishing something had happened; you again need the past perfect.” Therefore, write “I wish you had been at my graduation.”

  41. Roy says:

    Hi Jane,
    is it correct to say ‘if you expected your income to be above $10000 at the begining of 2011 year, then you would require to register for GST’
    I am talking about a past situation but i dont know if his income was above $10000 or not at the time of speaking.
    (in otherword, how can I say this sentense on a day in the future (after this year ‘if you expect your income to be above $10000 for this year then you will require to register for GST
    Thanks a lot

    • Jane says:

      I will take my best guess at what you are trying to say. Your sentence is an example of the subjunctive mode, which refers to the expression of a hypothetical, wishful, or imaginary thought. The sentence could be written “If, at the beginning of the year 2011, you had expected your income to be above $10,000 for the year, then you would have been required to register for GST.”

  42. Omkar says:

    Thanks a lot!!!
    If you hadn’t written this article, I would have mistaken.

  43. Shanks says:

    I would have loved if you had come without wearing make-up.
    Is it correct if not please explain….:)
    Thank you.

  44. Shanks says:

    or it should be:
    If you had come without make-up I would have loved it.

    Thanks you your assistance, and I personally feel it is really a great thing u r doing by spreading knowledge.
    (plz check this also).

    • Jane says:

      You did a good job understanding the rules outlined in the blog. Your sentences are both grammatically correct but have small punctuation errors. The word makeup is not hyphenated. Your second example sentence needs a comma: “If I Would Have… vs. If I Had…” I would have loved if you had come without wearing makeup. OR If you had come without makeup, I would have loved it.
      Your final sentence is not written in formal English. I suggest: Thank you for your assistance. I feel you are doing a great thing by spreading knowledge.

  45. Anjula says:

    Hi, I want to confirm that if i am using I am gone to London.Bell is rung .Tis kind of sentence is right or wrong ?

    • Jane says:

      Your sentences are not wrong, but the wording is somewhat unusual. In most cases, these sentences would be written:

      I have gone to London. The bell has rung.

  46. Anjula says:

    It became a big matter of discussion at my school that i am gone to London is wrong but according to FT wood it is right(verb of moment ) is it please explain it .

  47. Robert Sklar says:

    I would have thought that your letter intended to clarify the issues raised in my complaint. Instead,

    I would have thought that your letter would have intended

    I would have thought that your letter might have intended to clarify the issues. Instead,

    Help!!!!

    • Jane says:

      I recommend the following:
      I would have thought that your letter would clarify the issues raised in my complaint. Instead… OR
      I had hoped that your intent was to clarify the issues raised in my complaint. Instead…

  48. TANI says:

    hi jane,
    is this statement correct?
    if we were not sick we would have come to the party.
    please help..

    • Jane says:

      Since the if clause occurred before we would have come, it requires the past perfect: had not been sick (see our blog “If I Would Have… vs. If I Had…”). Also, our Rule 9 of Commas says, “When starting a sentence with a weak clause, use a comma after it.” Therefore, add a comma after the word sick and capitalize the first letter of the sentence:

      If we had not been sick, we would have come to the party.

  49. David says:

    “You would have liked to see it too, but you hadn’t known he was going.”

    Really? No.

    “You would have liked to HAVE SEEN it too, but you hadn’t known he was going.”

  50. Chir0n says:

    The only English speakers I’ve ever heard using the conditional perfect when they should be using the past perfect are Americans. Actually, I can’t remember the last time (before today) that I’ve come across an American who doesn’t make this error. There must be a reason for this; anyone have any ideas?

  51. Ramesh says:

    i would like to ask a person whether he is going or went to to home or not

    Have you not gone yet?
    You did not go?
    You did not went?

    Which one is correct among these

    if all ware went wrong how i can express in this particular situation

    plz guide

    • Jane says:

      You could say “Have you not gone yet?” Often in informal speech a person would use a contraction and ask “Haven’t you gone yet?” Both of these responses imply that you think the person has not yet gone home. If you truly do not know, you could ask “Have you gone home yet?” or “Have you been home yet?”

  52. Malik says:

    you tell me whether there are grammar patterns like beloww
    01 I have Had to go to school
    02 I had had to go to school
    03 I might have had to go to school
    Thanks

    • Yes, those phrases could fit within grammatically correct sentences. These are examples which involve very complex grammar usage. Examples:

      I have had to go to school for four years to get my degree. (present perfect tense, something that started in the past and has relevance to or continues to the present)

      I had had to go to school, so I was unable to attend the fair. (past perfect tense of to have and the past participle of to have, two past-tense occurences)

      If I had not passed the final exam, I might have had to go to school over the summer. (third conditional, a condition in the past that did not happen, if + past perfect=might have + past participle)

  53. nadia says:

    Please reply if its correct.

    “I had not accompanied you if known you could have cancelled the programme”

    Secondly please guide how to use had have/have had togather?

    Regards Nadia

    • Your sentence should read “I would not have accompanied you if I had known you could have cancelled the programme.” In American English the final words would be spelled “canceled the program.”

      Had have together in that order in a sentence is not grammatically correct. Have had is used for the present perfect tense and the future perfect tense of the verb “to have.” Examples:

      I have had a pet cat for ten years.
      He will have had his exam by tomorrow at this time.

  54. nadia says:

    If she had been good ,you would have been good too…
    Please correct it…Regards Nadia

  55. preeti says:

    i get confuse when i read “i’d have gone”
    does this mean- i could have gone or i would have gone?
    my 2nd question- sometimes in a sentence its like “i’d”..
    does this mean i had or i would.
    Please tell me by giving an example which has “i’d” in a sentence.
    Regards,
    Preeti

    • The phrase “I’d have gone” means “I would have gone.” An example sentence is “If I had known that you were going to the store, I’d have gone too.”
      The contraction “I’d” can mean either “I would” or “I had,” depending on the sentence. Note that the letter I is always capitalized when used as a pronoun. Here are some other examples:

      I’d like to go to the store tomorrow. (I would like to go to the store tomorrow.)
      If I’d gotten paid, I could go out tonight. (If I had gotten paid, I could go out tonight.)

  56. Sachin says:

    Could you please help me with the below usage?–
    “Would you have told me the truth if I had not mentioned to you that I <> relocating?”

    Thanks!

  57. kozetto says:

    Hi, I am a little confused.
    Can I say;

    1)
    If he had been here with me, he would have done the same.
    He would have done the same if he was here with me.
    or
    If he was here with me, he would have done the same.

    2)
    If he was my child, I would have told him off by now.
    If he had been my child, I would have told him by now.
    or
    I would have told him off if he had been my child.
    (this situation may be something like, you have seen a kid bullying some other kid…/doing something not nice to the others).

    Hope you understand what Im trying to say…
    Thank you.

  58. kozetto says:

    in addition to 1),

    If he was here with me, he would do the same.

    • Sentences using wish and if usually indicate subjunctive mode and require using were as the to be verb form. The following are correct:

      If he had been here with me, he would have done the same.
      He would have done the same if he were here with me.
      If he were here with me, he would have done the same.
      If he were here with me, he would do the same.
      If he were my child, I would have told him off by now.
      I would have told him off if he were my child.

  59. Nistor says:

    can you help me rewrite a sentence ? the sentence is “He felt sick after eating all those sweets” and the sentence has to start with “If he(…)”

  60. Keith says:

    Hi Jane! Until a year or two ago, this cumbersome ‘double conditional’ usage was unknown here in England. I heard it first from Oprah Winfrey on her syndicated TV show. Nowadays, British teens are as keen as we were in the 60s to ape any new US trends and are rapidly adopting it. In multicultural London, native white Britons account for less than 50% of the population and I hear youngsters in town speaking a kind of modern pidgin – and while some probably just don’t know (or care about) the so-called rules, others wish to sound cool, hip and different. I’d support changes in English which encourage brevity, but it’s always a pity when the the long-winded usurps the succinct.

  61. sidique says:

    Difference between:

    If I had known, I would have gone there.
    If I knew, I would have gone there.

    • The difference between the two sentences occurs in the “if” clause. Typically, in the third conditional, which is the expression of a hypothetical, wishful, or imaginary thought, the “if” clause is expressed with the past perfect (had known) and the conditional perfect (would have gone) in the second clause. In the sentence “If I knew, I would have gone there,” the “if” clause is expressed in past tense (knew). Although it is sometimes expressed this way, especially in spoken American English, we prefer “If I had known, I would have gone there.”

  62. ces says:

    If I have to go to the theater tonight, I will let you know.

  63. ces says:

    Are both ok to say?
    If I have to go to the theater tonight, I will let you know.
    If I have to go to the theater tonight, I have to let you know.

  64. Charles says:

    I am struggling with the meaning of a sworn statement:

    “Our office closed from December 23, 2011 through January 2, 2012 as part of a plant-wide shutdown. I would not have returned to work until at least January 3 and the mailroom would not have reopened until January 3.”

    Is this person really saying he was not at work during that period of time? If so, why wouldn’t he say, “I did not return to work until January 3″ or “I was not at work from December 23 through January 2.” Isn’t this a strange construction that conceals as much, if not more, than it reveals?

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