[could have + pp] vs. [could not have + pp] [2nd and 3rd mixed conditional]

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JJXR

Senior Member
Russian
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


Sample sentences:

1. I could have finished the work by Monday if I didn't have to do so many other things before then.

2. I could not have finished the work by Monday if I had to do so many other things before then.

Question:

Do the above sentences express the following:

Meaning of sentence #1: I will not be able to finish the work by Monday because I have to do so many other things before then.

Meaning of sentence #2: I will be able to finish the work by Monday because I don't have to do so many other things before then.


Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

Regards,
JJXR
 
  • RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    They don't sound idiomatic, though you will hear people mixing up tenses like that. This is how I see it:

    1. I could finish the work by Monday if I didn't have to do so many other things before then. (Monday is in the future.)
    >I could have finished the work by Monday if I had not had to do so many other things before then. (Monday has already passed.)

    2. I could not have finished the work by Monday if I had had so many other things to do before then. (Monday has passed.)
    >I could not finish the work by Monday if I have to do so many other things before then. (Monday is in the future.)
    >I can not finish the work by Monday if I have to do so many other things before then. (Monday is in the future.)
    >I would not be able to finish the work by Monday if I have to do so many other things before then. (Monday is in the future.)

    There are subtle differences between "could" and "can" and it would need a lot of speculation on my part.
     
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