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

Discussion in 'English Only' started by alohafromjapan, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. 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
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2019
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Yes.

    Can you explain the difficulty you have with it?
     
  3. alohafromjapan Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thanks,Loob:):):)

    The difficulty is its tense:(,but I understand it:)
     
  4. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    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."
     
  5. alohafromjapan Senior Member

    Japanese
    Thanks,sd:):):)

    I'll that in mind;)
     
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  7. Loob

    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.
     
  8. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    USA
    American English
    :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
     
  9. thetazuo

    thetazuo Senior Member

    China
    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”?
     
  10. Barque Senior Member

    India
    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".
     
  11. thetazuo

    thetazuo Senior Member

    China
    Chinese - China
    Thank you, Barque. I figure as much.
     
  12. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019

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