Barring a miracle, you wouldn't have done it

dreamlike

Senior Member
Polish
Hi everyone,

At the risk of sounding posh, is it proper to say "Barring a miracle, you wouldn't have done it" to mean "If it hadn't been for a miracle, you wouldn't have done it."
I'm particularly concerned about the part in bold, whether it agrees with the rest of the sentence.
 
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1. It doesn't sound too posh in my opinion.
    2. The grammar is correct and (superficially) it sounds idiomatic.
    3. I'm not clear what it is suppose to mean. Are you talking about an actual miracle performed supernaturally?

    Please give a scenario where you would say this. The problem is that the tense that you are using seems to imply a real miracle rather than simply a very good piece of luck. For example it would make more sense to say "Barring a miracle you will not be able to do that."
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yes, it's meant as overstatement.

    Suppose someone have passed some very difficult test and one says ... "Barring a miracle, you...". That's the context.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Let's say I will take a very difficult test tomorrow. I can say "Barring a miracle, I will not pass tomorrow's test." :tick:

    Then I take the test and pass. I can say:

    "By some miracle I passed the test." :tick:

    Does this answer your question?
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think I have only ever heard barring a miracle as a qualifier for a prediction. Dreamlike's proposal for a more complex function makes my head hurt. This may be because I find the logic of unreal conditions mystifying anyway.
     
    Last edited:

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Not exactly, Biffo, but I think I've worked it out on my own, of course your posts were of help to me. I wanted to implement this, as Se16Teddy aptly put it, "more complex function".
     
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