" If we didn't built the reservoir, there would be a terrible flood"?

cmkitty

Member
chinese
Hi. I found the following sentence in a grammar book " If we hadn't built the reservoir, there would have been a terrible flood." Is it also correct if I use " If we didn't built the reservoir, there would be a terrible flood"? Thanks!
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Is it also correct if I use " If we didn't built the reservoir, there would be a terrible flood"? Thanks!
    Your original example is a 3rd conditional.
    The version you suggest is a 1st conditional narrated in the past tense. In that sense it is correct, but it is no substitute for the original. :idea:
     

    cmkitty

    Member
    chinese
    Thanks a lot. However, I'm still confused about the difference between "If we didn't built the reservoir, there would be a terrible flood"(first conditonal narrated in the past tense) and " If we hadn't built the reservoir, there would have been a terrible flood."(third conditional) . They mean the same to me. Do they mean differently?
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "If we didn't build the reservoir, there would be a terrible flood" seems unlikely to me.

    If the reservoir does not exist: "If we don't build the reservoir, there will be a terrible flood."

    If the reservoir exists: "If we hadn't built the reservoir, there would have been a terrible flood."
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    "If we didn't build the reservoir, there would be a terrible flood" seems unlikely to me.

    If the reservoir does not exist: "If we don't build the reservoir, there will be a terrible flood."
    I agree with Sound Shift, although I suppose If we didn't build... is grammatically correct.
    Perhaps didn't refers to something that's happening now. You get on people's nerves, but if you didn't get on people's nerves they'd be more willing to help you.
     
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    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Thanks a lot. However, I'm still confused about the difference between "If we didn't built the reservoir, there would be a terrible flood"(first conditonal narrated in the past tense) and " If we hadn't built the reservoir, there would have been a terrible flood."(third conditional) . They mean the same to me. Do they mean differently?
    You are narrating the story of how you planned to build a reservoir.Your listeners do not know if the thing was actually built and you do not want to tell them YET. So you say: if we didn't build, there would be...
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Or am I making it too complicated?
    He said: If we don't build, there will be... - direct speech, 1st conditional
    He said if we didn't build, there would be... - reported speech, 1st conditional, past tense
     

    Kirill V.

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I think your #8 is possible, too:confused:
    I understand you mean this kind of context:
    We were considering building a reservoir. If we didn't build it, there would be a terrible flood. If we did build it, however, we'd run out of our budget.
    ...
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks a lot. However, I'm still confused about the difference between "If we didn't built the reservoir, there would be a terrible flood"(first conditonal narrated in the past tense) and " If we hadn't built the reservoir, there would have been a terrible flood."(third conditional) . They mean the same to me. Do they mean different things?
    If we hadn't built the reservoir there would have been a terrible flood means you did build the reservoir.
    If you're speaking about the past, as Boozer and Kayve are doing with If we didn't build a reservoir there would be a terrible flood, we don't know if the reservoir was built (at least, not unless Boozer and Kayve tell us.)
    Looking to the future from the point of view of the present, If we didn't build the reservoir there would be a terrible flood sounds odd in direct speech. (Thanks, Boozer.) Sound Shift's idea is better.
     
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