Bulgarian: tense sequencing in the past conditional

Evo900

Member
French
Hi everyone,

I am a bit confused by the tense used in the IF clause in past conditionals, in Bulgarian, where the past perfect would normally be used in English.

For example, it would be correct to say, in English, "If the weather had been good, I would have gone out" (past perfect)
But it wouldn't be very correct to say "If the weather was good, I would have gone out" (simple past)

However, as I understand it, the correct sentence in Bulgarian is "Ако времето беше хубаво, щях да изляза" (simple past), and I'm told that "Ако времето беше било хубаво, щях да изляза" (past perfect) does not sound good.


Another example:
If they had been here, they would have helped us (past perfect)
Ако те бяха тук, щяха да ни помогнат (simple past)

Here again I am told that "Ако те са били тук" (past perfect) does not sound good.
If in English, we used the simple past in the IF clause, then it couldn't be followed but the past conditional, and would be "If they were here, the would help us" instead.

However, it seems that the past perfect is ok in other examples:

If you hadn't come with me, I would have gotten lost (past perfect)
Ако ти не беше дошъл с мене, щях да се загубя (past perfect)

I can't find any explanation or guide as to which of the simple past or past perfect should be used in the IF clause.

Would anyone be keen enough to shed some light on this?

Thank you!
 
  • DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    You are correct in your examples. The only rule that I can come up with based on these sentences is that you can't use two past forms of съм together. Eg. беше бил (at least in modern language; I did find it in older texts).
    That's why you can't say Ако беше било, but you can say Ако беше дошъл.
     

    Evo900

    Member
    French
    Thanks for the input. I didn't think of that.

    However, what about the sentence:
    1) Ако имахме билети, щяхме да отидем на концерта
    2) Ако бяхме имали билети, щяхме да отидем на концерта

    I think only the first one is correct. But it may be that there is a list of verbs that wouldn't be used with the past perfect in this construction, that would include съм and имам, for example.
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Are these constructions possible in the Standard language?

    „Ако времето било хубаво...“ or maybe „Ако времето е било хубаво...“

    Or this one, related to @Evo900 's example:
    „Ако сме имали билети, щяхме да отидем на концерта.“
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Thanks for the input. I didn't think of that.

    However, what about the sentence:
    1) Ако имахме билети, щяхме да отидем на концерта
    2) Ако бяхме имали билети, щяхме да отидем на концерта

    I think only the first one is correct. But it may be that there is a list of verbs that wouldn't be used with the past perfect in this construction, that would include съм and имам, for example.
    That's why I hate these constructions. In any language. They're so complicated :D

    I think the second sentence should be Ако бяхме имали билети, щяхме да сме отишли на концерта. But this sentence is quite heavy and I'm not sure how often you would hear this in a conversation.
     

    DarkChild

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Are these constructions possible in the Standard language?

    „Ако времето било хубаво...“ or maybe „Ако времето е било хубаво...“

    Or this one, related to @Evo900 's example:
    „Ако сме имали билети, щяхме да отидем на концерта.“
    Yes, these are possible but they're in renarrative mood which is different from the op's examples.

    Ако времето било хубаво, щяла да изведе кучето на разходка - She said or I was told that if the weather is good (in the future), she will take the dog out for a walk. That's what I'm telling the owners of the dog who are asking me if the dog sitter is planning on taking the dog for a walk.

    Ако времето е било хубаво, щяла е да изведе кучето на разходка. - I'm reasoning that if the weather had been good (at some point in the past), she would have taken the dog out for a walk. But she didn't and the owners are mad that the dog made a mess inside so I'm defending that person.
     
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