If I had stayed...I had never made anything.

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Sasha888

New Member
Russian
Hi everyone! I came across Isaac Newton's quote - "If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I had never made anything."
My question is - is it grammatically correct ? Shouldn't that be "If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I would have never made anything."
Thanks!
 
  • rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Welcome to the forum, Sasha. It's grammatically correct but it's archaic. As you say, it's I would have never made these days. (We'd also say wait and not stay in this sense.)
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    PS You may come across a similar archaism in the past simple, e.g the opening lines of Andrew Marvell's poem To a Coy Mistress: Had we but world enough and time / This coyness, lady, were (would be) no crime.
     

    Sasha888

    New Member
    Russian
    I'd like to clarify something about Isaac Newton's quote. What conditional is it? 3rd, right?

    I'm having a discussion right now with a person and she maintains that "If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I had never made anything." is zero conditional.
     
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    Sasha888

    New Member
    Russian
    No, you need a grammarian. Most native speakers do not have any concept of types of conditional - they just use the language.
    What can you say about conditional?
    I'm having a discussion right now with a person and she maintains that "If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I had never made anything." is zero conditional.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Well, if we've got it clear that in the main clause it's "had never made" = "would have never made", then the sentence is a 100% 3rd conditional.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I agree with benny and Vic. In modern English the sentence would read:

    If I had waited for other people to make my tools and things for me, I would never have made anything.
     

    Sasha888

    New Member
    Russian
    Englishmypassion we're talking specifically about "If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I had never made anything." wich is archaic version of "If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I would have never made anything." which is in turn 3rd conditional.

    Your examples above are correct, but in the case with Isaac Newton's quote it's 3rd, because "If I had stayed for other people to make...:
     
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    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I am not sure early modern English distinguished between 2nd and 3rd conditional as we do today. I sometimes get the impression (for example from Shakespeare) that one switched at will between indicative and subjunctive in both the protasis and apodosis to indicate likelihood/remoteness. I can't say when the present distinction between 2nd and 3rd conditional became established.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Sarcastic, uh?:)
    So for you there's absolutelly no diffrence between unreal past, unreal present or real present/future?
    Many native speakers have not learned this numbered system of conditionals. It seems to be a system frequently used in teaching English as a second language. As I recall, we learned about real and unreal conditionals, not 0, 1, 2, 3, plus mixed conditionals. The constant insistence on knowing exactly which type of conditional a sentence is sometimes tiring. :)
     

    Sasha888

    New Member
    Russian
    Many native speakers have not learned this numbered system of conditionals. It seems to be a system frequently used in teaching English as a second language. As I recall, we learned about real and unreal conditionals, not 0, 1, 2, 3, plus mixed conditionals. The constant insistence on knowing exactly which type of conditional a sentence is sometimes tiring. :)
    Ok, what conditional do you think it is? - If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I had never made anything." past unreal?

    The constant insistence on knowing exactly which type of conditional a sentence is sometimes tiring.
    for a native speaker maybe, but for learners it's necessary to understand the difference.
     
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    Sasha888

    New Member
    Russian
    The difference between a 3rd conditional and a 2nd conditional" just sounds shorter, it's a matter of convenience
    I think the difference between both is past unreal(3rd) and present unreal(2nd).Which is not a matter of convenience, it's a matter of meaning.
    For example: "If I won a lottery I would buy a plane." and "If I had won a lottery I would have bought a plane." have different meanings.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Many native speakers have not learned this numbered system of conditionals. It seems to be a system frequently used in teaching English as a second language. As I recall, we learned about real and unreal conditionals, not 0, 1, 2, 3, plus mixed conditionals. The constant insistence on knowing exactly which type of conditional a sentence is sometimes tiring. :)
    :thumbsup:
    I had not heard of these terms until I joined WRF:eek: well into my Xth decade where X>4:)
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I think the difference between both is past unreal(3rd) and present unreal(2nd).Which is not a matter of convenience, it's a matter of meaning.
    I was talking about the difference between the two underlined statements.
    Native speakers really don't need to know grammar at all.
    But why isn't it a blue conditional or a banana conditional or 2-up-3-down-with-a-twist conditional. The 3rd in 3rd conditional has no apparent meaning. We have to decrypt your question from numbers to English and then it still isn't related to the grammar we learned in school.
    They are classified in order of complexity and learning them. The 1st conditional - is the easiest. Besides, this classification is used in native-English grammar sources, unlike, say, the probably Russian invention for two other grammatical patterns -- "Complex Object/Subject" .
     

    yan_shams

    Senior Member
    Russian - Belarus
    This classification is what we, foreigners, need, not native speakers. Moreover, the question is about the history of the language which complicates the matter. Here's the link to the modern classification: First, Second, and Third Conditional
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I had never made anything

    It is a past unreal conditional, because Newton was imagining a situation in the past where there was a different outcome (I didn't make anything) due to different circumstances (I waited around for other people to provide me with the tools I needed).
     

    Sasha888

    New Member
    Russian
    If I had stayed for other people to make my tools and things for me, I had never made anything

    It is a past unreal conditional, because Newton was imagining a situation in the past where there was a different outcome (I didn't make anything) due to different circumstances (I waited around for other people to provide me with the tools I needed).
    Simple and clear!The best explanation!
    P.s. For guys who don't know the numbers of conditionals - past unreal = 3rd conditional .
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Moderator's note:

    I have deleted posts not directly related to the topic question. I did not go back and edit the remaining posts to reflect those deletions, to the thread is a little rough. I apologize for the resulting roughness.

    Many competent and helpful native speakers do not know grammatical terminology, but others do. Sometimes people use different terms. Nonetheless, questions about terminology are legitimate. We can only do our best to answer the questions we can, and to leave others to people who recognize the terms being used.

    People who are interested in the numbered classifications of conditionals should look at the link in post #4:
    First, Second, and Third Conditional

    Cagey,
    moderator
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    No, you need a grammarian. Most native speakers do not have any concept of types of conditional - they just use the language.

    I don't consider that an anachronism. I consider that to be a current usage.
    I agree with the first comment. Michael Swan in Practical English Usage describes the 'pluperfect+conditional perfect' construction as 'third conditional.' (If I'd had enough money, I'd have bought a ticket.) It's not a term I use, but if other people are happy with it, then fine. It's third conditional in the Newton quote. If he'd waited for other people to make his tools, he'd have been waiting for ever. The archaic grammatical construction is different but the idea of the hypothetical past is the same.

    I agree that Had we but... in the Andrew Marvell quote isn't an archaism. The archaism is ...this coyness, lady, were no crime... Apologies for not making this clear.
     
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