'if + past perfect' for a future hypothesis.

< Previous | Next >

HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
If 'his visit' has not taken place yet, is the use of 'had found' proper?

I checked on if all the equipment worked, and found a power supply was down. It would have been worse if I had found it in the middle of his visit.
EDIT: I corrected 'on' changing it to 'if.' My oversight.
 
Last edited:
  • VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    The possibility of happening so is in the past now that he's found the problem. So I think it's ok to use a 3rd conditional here.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I checked on all the equipment worked,:cross:I checked that all the equipment worked, :tick:

    is the use of 'had found' proper? Yes. It is subjunctive.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    The possibility of happening so is in the past now that he's found the problem. So I think it's ok to use a 3rd conditional here.
    I checked on all the equipment worked,:cross:I checked that all the equipment worked, :tick:

    is the use of 'had found' proper? Yes. It is subjunctive.
    Oooops, yes, it should have been 'I checked that ...' or 'I checked if ....'
    So it's okay to use 'had found it' when 'finding it,' if ever, occurs in the future? (Note his visit is in the future)
     
    Last edited:

    dona83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    it's an possibility in the past and it's unreal because i have actually found that the power supply was down before the visit therefore you should use the following structure:

    If clause PAST PERFECT i.e. if I had found it later
    Consequence clause WOULD + HAVE + PARTICIPLE i.e would have been worst
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    The condition given here is that 'his visit' is in the future at the time of utterance. So the possibility of 'finding the trouble' is in the future too, again, at the time of utterance. (Please note the finding would happen 'in the middle of his visit, which is in the future) But it's grammatically okay to use 'had found' a third conditional, which you often see used to describe past unreality. Correct?

    It would have been worse if I had found it (>>> future) in the middle of his visit (>>> future).
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I checked on all the equipment worked, and found a power supply was down. It would have been worse if I had found it in the middle of his visit.
    If 'his visit' has not taken place yet, is the use of 'had found' proper?
    The sentence is about a time that did not exist. The future did not exist yet, so I suppose you could say "It would have been worse had I found it in the middle of his visit tomorrow." (It was not found during tomorrow's visit.) Is that what you mean?

    There is nothing in the sentence as written to tell us that "his visit" is not a real visit in the past.
     

    dona83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I don't agree with you as you are talking now about something that has already happened (or not happened ). At the time of utterance you are referring to something that is already past you.
    It would be different if you said: It will be worse if I finds it in the middle of his visit tomorrow. That is an hypothetical situation in the future.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I checked on all the equipment worked, and found a power supply was down. It would have been worse if I had found it in the middle of his visit.
    What is the source of this quotation? It is not well put and the faulty expression confuses the issue.

    The closed (hypothetical) past conditional is valid for the context, but the sentences require correction and clarification before being properly discussed.
     
    Last edited:

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    I've thrown the correction into the quotation. It's my rendition, wandle.

    I can easily see find it in [1] stands idiomatically and semantically with tomorrow, but the sentence holds the possibility of finding it. The current situation rules it out; hence, the choice is [2]? Had found it (which, as a third conditional, is normally used to describe unreality in the past) and tomorrow can co-occur. Am I correct?
    [1] It will be worse if I find it in the middle of his visit tomorrow.
    [2] It would have been worse if I had found it in the middle of his visit tomorrow.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I've thrown the correction into the quotation. It's my rendition, wandle.
    I would still want to make some changes for brevity and clarity:
    I checked all the equipment, and found a power supply was down. Things would have been worse if I had found it in the middle of his visit.
    'Things' is better than 'it', which people might think meant the same as 'it' in the 'if' clause.

    Sentence (1) does not make sense, because 'it' in the 'if' clause has no meaning. What does it refer to? The sentence is telling us that nothing has yet been found.

    (2a) 'Things would have been worse if I had found it in the middle of his visit tomorrow.'

    This formulation is valid and clear. It may seem illogical, but there is no other option.

    A closed (or hypothetical) future conditional (2nd conditional) would not work, because the sentence 'Things would be worse if I found it tomorrow' is still telling us, just like (1), that nothing has yet been found, so once again, the word 'it' has no meaning.

    What the closed past conditional (3rd conditional) does in this case is take the idea of finding a problem during the visit, seen as future from the point before the search was made, and tell us that that potential occurrence became unreal (and thus impossible) at the point when the problem was found, which is past at the time when the sentence is spoken or written.

    Because that possibility then ceased to exist, it cannot any longer be seen as future from the viewpoint of the present. It has simply been excluded from reality altogether.

     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top