if I <had won> the lottery and <had> a lot of money

JJXR

Senior Member
Russian
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


Sample sentence:

John: "What if you had a lot of money in the future?"

Chris: "Well, if I had won the lottery and had a lot of money, I would buy a new car."

Reasoning:

In a hypothetical world, the reference time to which Chris's attention is being drawn is the moment when he had a lot of money. So, if Chris wants to refer to what had happened earlier than that moment in the hypothetical world, he should use the past perfect, namely "had won".

Question:

Are the bolded tenses correct, and is my reasoning correct? Does the sentence that Chris says in reply to John work as a mixed conditional?


Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

Regards,
JJXR
 
  • Jimbob_Disco

    Senior Member
    British English
    The second and last seem fine to me.

    However, I would just use the perfect indicative in the first one - ‘if I won the lottery…’. Otherwise, it doesn’t match with the other parts - the second is in the perfect indicative. Otherwise you’d have to put the second one into the pluperfect indicative and the third into the pluperfect conditional (forgive me if this is not the correct term - I’m looking at English tenses using the vocabulary of French/Italian tenses because I’m unfortunately ignorant of the technicalities of my own language :().
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, Jimbob_Disco.

    But the past perfect "had won" works in the following scenario:

    John: "How come you had so much money?"
    Chris: "Well, I had won the lottery and had a lot of money."


    Again, the reference point is the moment when Chris had a lot of money. The past perfect is correct because earlier Chris had won the lottery. I think it's possible to apply the same logic in the case of the example in post #1. The only difference is that the example in post #1 has to do with a hypothetical world rather than the real one.
     

    Jimbob_Disco

    Senior Member
    British English
    I still disagree...

    Whilst Chris had indeed won the lottery earlier, he still has won the lottery (his winnings have not been taken away from him)! When you use the pluperfect indicative you’re implying that Chris had won the lottery, but then something happened that changed that outcome, i.e. there was a system error and it wasn’t him after all.
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, Jimbob_Disco.
    Whilst Chris had indeed won the lottery earlier, he still has won the lottery (his winnings have not been taken away from him)! When you use the pluperfect indicative you’re implying that Chris had won the lottery, but then something happened that changed that outcome, i.e. there was a system error and it wasn’t him after all.
    I don't understand how the present perfect "has won" is relevant to the example in post #3. The present perfect "has won" relates to the recent past, whereas the past perfect "had won" relates to the time previous to some other time in the past. In post #3, the story is in the past:
    John: "How come you had so much money?"
    Chris: "Well, I had won the lottery and had a lot of money."
    As I understand it, we don't know from this example whether or not Chris's winnings have been taken away from him. The sentence is simply a report of two events: it tells us that Chris won the lottery before he had a lot of money. The past perfect "had won" emphisizes anteriority.
    John: "What if you had a lot of money in the future?"

    Chris: "Well, if I had won the lottery and had a lot of money, I would buy a new car."
    In the example in post #1, the past perfect "had won" also emphasizes anteriority, i.e. Chris has been asked to imagine that he were at the point in an imaginary world at which he had won a lot of money, what would he do with all that money?
     
    Last edited:

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    John: "What if you had a lot of money in the future?"

    Chris: "Well, if I had won the lottery and had a lot of money, I would buy a new car."
    In the example in post #1, the past perfect "had won" also emphasizes anteriority, i.e. Chris has been asked to imagine that he were at the point in an imaginary world at which he had won a lot of money, what would he do with all that money?
    I'm afraid, Chris's answer does not match John's question, hence doesn't make much sense.

    The question "What if you had a lot of money in the future" can ONLY be interpreted as hypothetical, i.e. subjunctive mood, because of 'had' in combination with the explicit future adverbial 'in the future'.
    The only sensible answer would be: "If I won the lottery (some time in the future)..." or "If I were to win the lottery..."
     
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