If I could have bought the stock, I would be rich now.

alohafromjapan

Senior Member
Japanese
"If I could have bought the stock, I would be rich now"
[Topic sentence added to post. DonnyB - moderator]


1) If I could
 
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  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    If I could have bought the stock then, I would be rich now.
    I'm probably being picky, but the ability to purchase shares does not mean you did so.
    For example, I had the ability to purchase Starbuck's shares years ago, but didn't:oops:.
    Therefore, I would say, "If I could have had bought the stock then, I would be rich now or "If I could have bought the stock then and had done so, I would be rich now."
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I could can be either the imperfect or the conditional of I can.

    Here it's clearly the imperfect and the sentence is a Type II conditional.

    PS. The second line is Nonsense - see post #12. Thank you, Loob.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Isn't it a mixed II/III, TT?

    If I could have bought the stock, I would be rich now.
    =
    If I had been able to buy the stock, I would be rich now.
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    could can be either the imperfect or the conditional of I can.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:, but I think TT means Type III conditional. I don't like this conventional breakdown myself; I align with those who call it a "past conditional," because I think that's more useful and accurate.

    cross-posted
     

    thetazuo

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Hi. May I join in the discussion?
    Is it OK to say “If I could have bought the stock, I would have been rich now/tomorrow”?
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    When you say "If I could have", it's usually followed by something else also in the past, referring to what would have been the direct result of you being able to do something.

    If I could have done it, I would have.
    If I could have done it, he would have asked me.

    I don't mean your sentence is ungrammatical but it doesn't sound natural to me. If you want to say you would have become rich by buying that stock, there's no need to say "If I could have bought it". You could just say "If I had bought it".
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Isn't it a mixed II/III, TT?

    If I could have bought the stock, I would be rich now.
    =
    If I had been able to buy the stock, I would be rich now.
    Thanks for pointing out my error, Loob.

    One look at the sentence tells us that it's a III/II mixed conditional - III in the if-clause, II in the main clause.

    This combination is used to contrast an imagined or unperformed action in the past with its unrealised consequence.

    I didn't buy the stock and in consequence am not now rich.

    I won't trouble anyone with an explanation of how I came to make such an elementary mistake in #6.
     
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