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Thread: Future in the past

  1. #1
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    Future in the past

    In inglese il Future in the past (l'uso di un present conditional per indicare la posteriorità di un'azione in un'oggettiva rispetto all'azione espressa dalla principale) per quello che ne so è usato sempre e solo nel discorso indiretto(ossia con un reporting verb):
    "I'll go to the bank" -->He said he would go(Present Conditional) to the bank= disse che sarebbe andato(Condizionale passato)alla banca
    Altrimenti si usa sempre il Past Conditional come faremmo noi in italiano.
    Potete dirmi voi qualche altro esempio (ad es. risposte a domande, o domande solo, o semplicemente affermazioni) in cui si usa il Future in the Past (esempi in cui noi invece in italiano useremmo il Condizionale Passato)

    Ad es. la frase:
    It would have been an error the fact (that) I would accuse him, so I didn’t. = sarebbe stato un errore il fatto che lo avrei accusato
    E' corretta o dovevo dire "I would have accused him" ?

    Grazie mille

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    Re: Future in the past

    Se posso dire la mia, da semplice uomo della strada e senza nessuna conoscenza linguistica avanzata, credo che sarebbe molto più semplice se i corsi di inglese per italiani, anziché introdurre il concetto di future in the past che è molto fuorviante (poiché difatti crea dubbi su dubbi sulla traduzione del condizionale italiano), facessero semplicemente notare il seguente concetto:
    - in inglese, il futuro semplice si costruisce con will + tema del verbo;
    - il passato di will è would (sì, è un po' forzato, ma concedetemelo);
    - se parlo al discorso indiretto, metto i verbi al passato: quindi will diventa would.

    L'uso del verbo diventa a mio avviso semplicissimo:
    "I will go" -> He said he would go.

    Se sto dicendo bestialità, fatemelo sapere...

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    Re: Future in the past

    This recent thread with the same title may interest you.
    That's an L (Lsp)

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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by matar0
    Ad es. la frase:
    It would have been an error the fact (that) I would accuse him, so I didn’t. = sarebbe stato un errore il fatto che lo avrei accusato
    E' corretta o dovevo dire "I would have accused him" ?
    Hi matar0,

    You could say, It would have been an error to have accused him, so I didn't. Or better, to my ears anyway, It would have been a mistake to have accused him, so I didn't.

    This is a correct but clunky construction at best.
    Last edited by TrentinaNE; 4th September 2006 at 1:24 PM. Reason: Added quote tags to quoted message

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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by matar0 View Post
    In inglese il Future in the past (l'uso di un present conditional per indicare la posteriorità di un'azione in un'oggettiva rispetto all'azione espressa dalla principale) per quello che ne so è usato sempre e solo nel discorso indiretto(ossia con un reporting verb)
    Sono del tutto d'accordo con MünchnerFax Termini come "future in the past" (e ancor più la famosa "duration form" - termine che non mi sembra sia usato in inglese e che causa confusione quando si studia l'uso del passato prossimo progressivo) sono spesso inutili etichette. Ma c'è chi vive con la testa sprofondata nei testi di grammatica e non mette mai il naso fuori per esplorare l'uso vivo della lingua (come la maggior parte degli insegnanti di lingue con cui lavoro).

    Comunque, Mataro, non è vero che l'uso di "would" invece di "would have" (dove in italiano useremmo il condizionale passato) sia limitato al discorso indiretto:

    One day he would go on to become the greatest statesman in British history

    (un giorno sarebbe diventato...)

    Anche il mio esempio rientra nel concetto di "future in the past". Eppure è una principale.

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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by moodywop View Post
    Sono del tutto d'accordo con MünchnerFax Termini come "future in the past" (e ancor più la famosa "duration form" - termine che non mi sembra sia usato in inglese e che causa confusione quando si studia l'uso del passato prossimo progressivo) sono spesso inutili etichette. Ma c'è chi vive con la testa sprofondata nei testi di grammatica e non mette mai il naso fuori per esplorare l'uso vivo della lingua (come la maggior parte degli insegnanti di lingue con cui lavoro).

    Comunque, Mataro, non è vero che l'uso di "would" invece di "would have" (dove in italiano useremmo il condizionale passato) sia limitato al discorso indiretto:

    One day he would go on to become the greatest statesman in British history

    (un giorno sarebbe diventato...)

    Anche il mio esempio rientra nel concetto di "future in the past". Eppure è una principale.
    Grazie mille per il tuo esempio .
    Potresti gentilmente (visto che sono così ) provare a spiegarmi una regola generale accompagnata da altri esempi?

    P.S. ho visto il tuo messaggio di Benvenuto : evviva i salernitani nel mondo

    Grazie

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    Re: Future in the past

    Moodywop, lo sai che ti adoro, ma mi spieghi perchè non consideri un giorno sarebbe diventato un futuro nel passato?
    Diventerà (è un futuro considerato da ora)
    Sarebbe diventato (è un futuro di una previsione fatta nel passato, e perciò un futuro nel passato).
    Forse sbaglierò, ma mi piacerebbe tanto ascoltare una tua bella lezioncina, perciò ho provato.

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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by Isapaola View Post
    Moodywop, lo sai che ti adoro, ma mi spieghi perchè non consideri un giorno sarebbe diventato un futuro nel passato?
    Diventerà (è un futuro considerato da ora)
    Sarebbe diventato (è un futuro di una previsione fatta nel passato, e perciò un futuro nel passato).
    Forse sbaglierò, ma mi piacerebbe tanto ascoltare una tua bella lezioncina, perciò ho provato.
    Ma no, carissima Isapaola.

    Io sono del tutto d'accordo con te. E' un "future in the past", certo!

    Spiegavo a Matar0 che il "future in the past" si trova anche nelle principali, e non solo nelle secondarie (uno dei miei colleghi ciucci, evidentemente, gli aveva dato la solita regoletta campata in aria).

    E' sempre un piacere parlare con una persona intelligente e perspicace come te.
    Last edited by Jana337; 29th August 2006 at 2:31 PM. Reason: discuss moderator actions by PM

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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by lsp View Post
    This recent thread with the same title may interest you.
    I've read all the discussion : very insteresting! (though it didn't solve my doubts). However I have a doubt with a part(see underlined text) of one of the messages of the thread:

    Re: future in the past
    Hi there Moodywop!

    You raised some valid and interesting points about equivalence of present and past forms of conditional statements in Italian. I take it that having said that the past conditional in Italian is ambiguous, you suggest (from referring to Practical English Usage) that the same may be true for English as well (in reported speech).

    I’ve thought about this over the last few hours and have come to realise that language is really so complex and defies easy categorisation! Anyway, my opinion on the issue you raised would be both yes and no – it depends.

    I do agree with the slant given by Isp re “when we meet”. It does depend on the time frame the speaker is referring to. But to take the simplest case, for your example, “she said if she had any money she would buy me a drink” this is true. There is in effect no real difference for reported speech. This happens because of the word “said”, which “compresses” the past retrospectively. When using direct speech there is a difference because one is dealing with the moment of thought (I would buy you a drink – it’s open ended) and the other with a moment just completed or resolved (I would have bought you a drink – it’s now closed). In reported speech the distinction between the two blurs due to both being in the past and therefore now closed.

    For either direct or reported speech you can even use a hybrid form– “She said if she had any money she would have bought me a drink.” If the hybrid is used it is also equivalent to the standard reported form.
    If I had any money I would have bought = If I’d had any money I would have bought

    I believe this equivalence is due to the dependent conditional clause dominating the sentence, whereas the independent subjunctive clause (If I had) is vague or more freeform. I’m not an English guru, but I suggest this might have occurred due to a drift in expressing subjunctive mood. Although a subjunctive conjugation has almost vanished in English now, the mood itself still exists, but it represented by several forms viz.
    If I had = Had I = Were I to have (present subjunctive)

    If I’d had = Had I had = Were I to have had (past subjunctive)

    If I’d had (past subjunctive) can be substituted with If I had (present subjunctive) if the former is being used to describe a very recent past moment in time (eg the party is breaking up and the participants are about to leave or have just left the pub). Not enough time has elapsed for the condition of “not having enough money” to have changed, so the present subjunctive is applied to the just completed past as well. However later, when a longer time has elapsed it is better to say If I’d had because the status of my cash-in-hand may well be different.

    Now consider the following sentences,

    1. She eyed the journalist across the table and thought blithely that if she had the money she would buy him a drink.

    2. She eyed the journalist across the table and thought blithely that if she’d had the money she would have bought him a drink.

    Although this example is similar to the one above the two sentences convey a subtle but distinct difference in meaning. This is because it is not reported speech, but 3rd person narrative. There is a greater sense of immediacy here, as if we are in the mind of the woman, and so the open-ended vs. closed distinction is preserved, just as in direct speech.

    Now I’ll just add one more comment to the Romeo/Juliet discussion, then I’ll stop! The sentence “He gave her a potion that would put her to sleep” is different from the examples above because the qualifying clause is not conditional and the main clause is not subjunctive. There is a definite cause and effect with no doubt involved. So in this case the adjectival clause that would put her to sleep is purely future in the past. It is interesting to me that Italian uses the conditional form for this. Thanks again for pointing that out.

    Andy


    In fact I would say, using a 3rd conditional with a future in the past in it:

    If I had had any money I would buy it = Se avessi avuto i soldi lo avrei comprato.

    Tell me if I'm correct

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    Re: Future in the past

    Ciao.
    Quote Originally Posted by matar0 View Post
    I've read all the discussion : very insteresting! (though it didn't solve my doubts). However I have a doubt with a part(see underlined text) of one of the messages of the thread:

    In fact I would say, using a 3rd conditional with a future in the past in it:

    If I had had any money I would have bought it = Se avessi avuto i soldi lo avrei comprato.
    Consecutio tempore.

    But, in a post of some time ago, I have been tought that "if I had had..." nowadays sounds odd, so one writes "if I'd had" or something like the phrases you cited above.

    While:

    "If I had any money, I would buy it" = "Se avessi soldi lo comprerei"

    Uinni
    In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings (DCD)

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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by matar0 View Post
    I've read all the discussion : very insteresting! (though it didn't solve my doubts). However I have a doubt with a part(see underlined text) of one of the messages of the thread:



    In fact I would say, using a 3rd conditional with a future in the past in it:

    If I had had any money I would buy it = Se avessi avuto i soldi lo avrei comprato.

    Tell me if I'm correct
    To my mind there is no future in the past here. If I had had enough money back then I would have bought it back then.

    By the way, I don't think "consecutio temporum" is a useful concept here.

    For some reason many learners are puzzled by what grammarians call "mixed" types of conditional sentences (periodi ipotetici). I don't understand why - they make perfect sense and are common in both Italian and English:

    If my mother hadn't knocked my father off his bicycle thirty years ago, I wouldn't be here now
    (example from M Swan Practical English Usage OUP)

    Most Italian kids are only taught the three "classical" periodi ipotetici. So, when they see a hybrid like Swan's example they are baffled or assume it's wrong (it's not!).
    It's a mix of so-called "second-type" and "third-type" periodi ipotetici.

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    Re: Future in the past

    Uinni, how would you distinguish between if I had the money (needed) to buy it, and if I had any money (at all)... I would have bought it?

    p.s. It's an L

    Lsp
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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by lsp View Post
    Uinni, how would you distinguish between if I had the money (needed) to buy it, and if I had any money (at all)... I would have bought it?
    Exactly in the way I have just told you. The former "se avessi i soldi"; the latter "se avessi soldi"... But I was afraid that your correction was an absolute one (because I expected you would have corrected the Italian version, not the original English one )

    Quote Originally Posted by lsp View Post
    p.s. It's an L

    Lsp
    Sorry, it is the second time you tell me I am mispelling your name. I am really sorry but I cannot promise I won't do this error again for I am afraid a deep mnestic track is carved in my brain where your nick is "ISP"
    In the Kingdom of the Blind the One-Eyed Are Kings (DCD)

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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by uinni View Post
    Exactly in the way I have just told you. The former "se avessi i soldi"; the latter "se avessi soldi"... But I was afraid that your correction was an absolute one (because I expected you would have corrected the Italian version, not the original English one )
    We're on the same track, I think. I corrected the English because there was the other correction to be made to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by uinni View Post
    Sorry, it is the second time you tell me I am mispelling your name. I am really sorry but I cannot promise I won't do this error again for I am afraid a deep mnestic track is carved in my brain where your nick is "ISP"
    No problem, I have to answer to both around here, and I'm used to it (you're not the only one)! Every once in a while I remind a WR veteran like you... , L
    That's an L (Lsp)

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    Re: Future in the past

    "It would have been an error if I had accused him, so I didn’t."

    Can I say also (using the future in the past):

    It would have been an error the fact (that) I would accuse him, so I didn’t


    Thank you

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    Re: Future in the past

    How about, simply, 'I didn't want to make the mistake of accusing him, so I didn't', thus eliminating the future in the past.
    Gianni

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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by Bookmom View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by matar0
    Ad es. la frase:
    It would have been an error the fact (that) I would accuse him, so I didn’t. = sarebbe stato un errore il fatto che lo avrei accusato
    E' corretta o dovevo dire "I would have accused him" ?
    Hi matar0,

    You could say, It would have been an error to have accused him, so I didn't. Or better, to my ears anyway, It would have been a mistake to have accused him, so I didn't.

    This is a correct but clunky construction at best.
    I don't think the meaning will be the same. What I meant to say was:
    It would have been an error the fact (that) I would eventually accuse him, so I didn’t. = sarebbe stato un errore il fatto che lo avrei accusato successivamente
    E' corretta o dovevo dire "I would eventually have accused him" ?

    Thx
    Last edited by TrentinaNE; 4th September 2006 at 1:25 PM. Reason: Added quote tags per change to post #5

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    Re: Future in the past

    First a fair warning. I am not an English professor so I may be wrong in what I am expressing below.

    On a new thread called “when I left” we stumbled onto a concept called future in the past and below I am copying part of my last message on the “when I left” thread.
    .
    Quote
    I read the “Future in the Past “ link and it did not convince such a construction (future in the past) exists in English.

    First few posts confused would as Present conditional with Past Indicative
    1st example. I will go/He said he would go if you substitute will/would for want then it is clear. I want to go/He said he wanted to go.

    2nd example
    One day he would go on to become the greatest statesman in British history
    Again substitute would go on to become with simply the verb become which in Past indicative = became.

    Then the thread goes on to give examples of Periodo Ipotetico which are really expressions handled very similarly in English and Italian but are not really future in the past examples since they deal with different kinds of reality.

    3rd example is really a Periodo Ipotetico phrase.
    It would have been (past conditional) an error the fact (that) I would (past conjunctive – substitute would with wanted to, thought of) accuse him, so I didn’t.
    If you change the wording the fact that to to the fact if it becomes clear it is Periodo Ipotetico.
    Unquote


    PS
    To Matar0 original question. In my opinion you can say and be marginally correct saying either would accuse (wanted to accuse) or would have accused (wanted to have accused) but the best (sounding most natural) is: It would have been an error if I had accused him, so I didn't.

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    Re: Future in the past

    Hello,
    "To Matar0 original question. In my opinion you can say and be marginally correct saying either would accuse (wanted to accuse) or would have accused (wanted to have accused) but the best (sounding most natural) is: It would have been an error if I had accused him, so I didn't."....

    ... che in italiano si traduce "sarebbe stato un errore se non lo avessi fatto, cosi' non l'ho fatto".

    Skanner

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    Re: Future in the past

    Quote Originally Posted by skanner62 View Post
    Hello,
    "To Matar0 original question. In my opinion you can say and be marginally correct saying either would accuse (wanted to accuse) or would have accused (wanted to have accused) but the best (sounding most natural) is: It would have been an error if I had accused him, so I didn't."....

    ... che in italiano si traduce "sarebbe stato un errore se non lo avessi fatto, cosi' non l'ho fatto".

    Skanner
    I take this opportunity to say when I said I do nor think future in the past exists in English I should have said it does not uniquely exist in English. Your translation shows as I have said that Periodo Ipotetico is expressed in similar manners in English and Italian.

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