If you had stuck your finger into the fire you would have been screaming all day.

Fbohn21

Senior Member
Deutsch
Hello.

I’ve found this sentence as an example sentence in a grammar excercise.
If you had stuck your finger into the fire you would have been screaming.

If I changed it to:” If you had stuck your finger into the fire, you would have screamed.” Does that change the meaning a lot?
 
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    It changes it quite considerably: "would have been screaming" suggests that the scream/s lasted for a [long] period of time, which is why it is followed by "all day" in your thread title but which you have omitted in post #1.

    "would have screamed" suggests that there was one scream which stopped - probably when they ran out of breath!
     

    Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    It would only work it you were making the comment immediately after he/she put their finger in the fire, in which case "now / at this moment" would be implied i.e. the screaming would be continuing as you spoke.
     

    Fbohn21

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    Ok thank you. So then continuous form implies that that person was screaming for a while, where the simple form implies that that person screamed once?

    How about this sentence then:

    If you hadn’t stuck your finger into the fire, you wouldn’t be screaming.
     

    Fbohn21

    Senior Member
    Deutsch
    Thanks. I am aware of that, I am just wondering what the difference between would have screamed and would have been screaming and would be screaming is.


    Let me try to tell you what I understand them to mean:

    If you hadn’t stuck your finger into the fire you wouldn’t be screaming.
    —> you have stuck your finger into the fire and you are screaming.

    If you hadn’t stuck you finger into the fire, you wouldn’t have been screaming for the last 20minutes.

    —> you have stuck your finger into the fire and you were screaming for the last 20 minutes, you might still be screaming.

    If you hadn’t stuck your finger into the fire, you wouldn’t have screamed.
    —> isn’t that more of a factual statement?
     
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