And the biggest loser if it <did> not would be Germany

【If Mrs Merkel continues to oppose all efforts to kick-start growth and banish deflation in the euro zone , she will condemn Europe to a lost decade even more debilitating than Japan’s in the 1990s .That would surely trigger a bigger populist backlash than Greece’s , right across Europe . It is hard to see how the single currency could survive in such circumstances . And the biggest loser if it did not would be Germany itself .】

My question is why in the last sentence it's "if it DID not would be Germany itself"? What's this tense, or how what's its usage? What does 'it' refer to in this sentence?
thanks!
 
  • Gramman,
    thank you for your detailed answer!
    I still have some questions:
    In your answer,

    Could
    is used as the past tense of can when it means that someone had the ability to do something, or that something was possible: The Roman army could march 30 miles in a day.
    In my sentences, the author proposed a possible future of Europe (a lost decade), and indicated that Euro is not likely to be able to survive it. English teachers in secondary schools here used to say that 'could' is a mild tone to explain something, or to propose a 'possibility'.
    In your quotes, "could"is used to describe some thing in the past.
    So I am a little confused. What's the exact function of past tense here, when the author explain something possible in the future?
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    I am a little confused. What's the exact function of past tense here, when the author explain something possible in the future?
    It looks like you may be less confused that me. :eek: I "could" have kept my mouth shut, but that's not my nature.

    My response was sort of a guess, something people aren't supposed to do around here, at least not without identifying it as such.

    I'll cut myself some slack by suggesting that the verbs and tenses in the passage you're examining are perhaps a bit complex. Let me point to another part of that Macmillan page for could , and hope that a more knowledgeable person (I'm just an amateur grammarian) might come along and clarify things.

    3. used for saying what is possible


    a. used for saying that something is possible or that it may happen

    We could still win – the game isn’t over yet.
    In a situation like this, anything could happen.


    Here's some more material that may be useful:

    • We use could to talk about less definite aspects of possibility or suggested options, either now or in the future:
    We could go for a walk now and then have dinner.
    There could be a storm later.
    She could be in line for a top government job.Can or Could?, from a blog on Oxford Dictionaries

    can, could, and could have, and can or could, from the British Council's Learn English site
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Gramman, I'm sorry, I really don't think could in the original text is past tense - I'd say that
    It is hard to see how the single currency could survive in such circumstances
    = It
    is hard to see how the single currency would be able to survive in such circumstances
    not
    It
    is hard to see how the single currency was able to survive in such circumstances.

    I agree with Myridon about the reason for the "did":).
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    I really don't think could in the original text is past tense

    Oh no, I gave up on that idea.

    >>I agree with Myridon about the reason for the "did".

    Sorry, but I don't understand what that reason is. :confused:

    I'm now thinking that perhaps did was used because it matches with would. In other words, this "could" be written as:

    It is hard to see how the single currency could survive in such circumstances. And the biggest loser if it does not will be Germany itself.

     
    Gramman, I'm sorry, I really don't think could in the original text is past tense - I'd say that

    I agree with Myridon about the reason for the "did":).
    Hi Loob,
    Thanks for your answer!
    I didn't realize before that Myridon also answered the question of tense used here. So do you mean that you are agreed with Myridon that "did" here matches with "would", or...?
     
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