we had, we needn't

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  • Flash3

    Senior Member
    United States and American English
    1) If we have X, then we will not need Y.
    2) If we had X, then we would not need Y.
    3) If we had had X, then we wouldn't have needed Y.

    Those are the three ways to make if/then statements. The order can be flipped, but the relationship between the verb tenses must remain the same.

    1) If present, then future.
    2) If imperfect subjuntive, then conditional.
    3) If pluperperfect, then conditional perfect.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No, it's just another name for the past perfect subjuntive.
    I don't think so. The pluperfect is another name for the past perfect. There's a pluperfect indicative, and also, lurking somewhere, I don't doubt, a pluperfect subjunctive, formed by the imperfect subjunctive + past participle. A few examples might help.
     

    perfavore

    Senior Member
    USA
    Philippines - Tagalog
    Hi,

    Sorry, I was just used to pluperfect so I thought pluperperfect was a typo or a version of it that I never heard before.
     

    Flash3

    Senior Member
    United States and American English
    I don't think so. The pluperfect is another name for the past perfect. There's a pluperfect indicative, and also, lurking somewhere, I don't doubt, a pluperfect subjunctive, formed by the imperfect subjunctive + past participle. A few examples might help.
    Interesting, but I think that "pluperperfect indicative" is always used with indicative, whereas "pluperperfect subjunctive" can be used with or without subjunctive.
     

    Flash3

    Senior Member
    United States and American English
    Hi,

    Sorry, I was just used to pluperfect so I thought pluperperfect was a typo or a version of it that I never heard before.
    Pluperfect must be much more common then. It got 288,000 hits on google.
    Pluperperfect got 137 hits.
    The book, 501 Spanish Verbs uses pluperperfect.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Parergon, hi,

    If we had X, we need not Y.

    doesn't work because we need not is a present and if we had needs to be followed by a conditional, not a present, in the main clause. Even if it's a subjunctive with present force - if we had all the money in the world - it can't be followed by a main clause in the present.

    The problem comes from there, not from the strange order of the words - we need not, rather than we don't need.

    If we had all the money in the world, we don't need to work.

    doesn't work.

    It has to be:

    If we had all the money in the world, we wouldn't need to work

    or

    If we have all the money we need, we don't need to work.
     

    Flash3

    Senior Member
    United States and American English
    Parergon, hi,

    If we had X, we need not Y.

    doesn't work because we need not is a present and if we had needs to be followed by a conditional, not a present, in the main clause. Even if it's a subjunctive with present force - if we had all the money in the world - it can't be followed by a main clause in the present.

    The problem comes from there, not from the strange order of the words - we need not, rather than we don't need.

    If we had all the money in the world, we don't need to work.

    doesn't work.

    It has to be:

    If we had all the money in the world, we wouldn't need to work

    or

    If we have all the money we need, we don't need to work.
    If we have all the money we need, we don't need to work.
    I've heard this before, but I don't think it's grammatically correct. I think it would have to be:
    If we have all the money we need, we won't need to work.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Pluperfect must be much more common then. It got 288,000 hits on google.
    Pluperperfect got 137 hits.
    The book, 501 Spanish Verbs uses pluperperfect.
    I'm terribly sorry. I think my glasses must have misted over. I misread that longer word for pluperfect, which, along with those other googlers, was a familiar word to me. I'd never heard of the pluperperfect, and distrust a tense which can be subjunctive one moment and indicative the next. Perhaps I misunderstood that bit.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If we have all the money we need, we don't need to work.
    I've heard this before, but I don't think it's grammatically correct. I think it would have to be:
    If we have all the money we need, we won't need to work.
    Hi Flash,

    What you say may be true of AE. But please rest assured that in BE we can say both:

    If we have all the money we need, we don't need to work.

    and

    If we have all the money we need, we won't need to work.

    They mean different things, of course, and are, therefore, appropriate to different circumstances, none of which have ever come my way. Please take my word for the fact that we can say both. If they can't use the first formula, I wonder how Americans express the idea.
     

    Flash3

    Senior Member
    United States and American English
    I'm terribly sorry. I think my glasses must have misted over. I misread that longer word for pluperfect, which, along with those other googlers, was a familiar verb to me. I'd never heard of the pluperperfect, and distrust a tense which can be subjunctive one moment and indicative the next. Perhaps I misunderstood that bit.
    OK this is weird, because mine must have too. I don't know where I got pluperperfect from, because I just looked at the book again and it says pluperfect. It's definitely pluperfect.
     

    Flash3

    Senior Member
    United States and American English
    Hi Flash,

    What you say may be true of AE. But please rest assured that in BE we can say both:

    If we have all the money we need, we don't need to work.

    and

    If we have all the money we need, we won't need to work.

    They mean different things, of course, and are, therefore, appropriate to different circumstances, none of which have ever come my way. Please take my word for the fact that we can say both. If they can't use the first formula, I wonder how Americans express the idea.
    Oh, we definitely say the first one. i just don't think it's grammatically correct.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I would assume that pluperperfect is an errerror.
    Results 31 - 34 of 34 for pluperperfect
    None of the 34 links I could find in Google offers a definition, and several of them are making the point that it does not exist.

    Back to If we had X, we need not Y, Flash3's examples are not of that form.
     

    Flash3

    Senior Member
    United States and American English
    I would assume that pluperperfect is an errerror.
    Results 31 - 34 of 34 for pluperperfect
    None of the 34 links I could find in Google offers a definition, and several of them are making the point that it does not exist.

    Back to If we had X, we need not Y, Flash3's examples are not of that form.
    That's because if you say "If we had x," it must be followed by "we would not need y" ;)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Oh, we definitely say the first one. i just don't think it's grammatically correct.
    What's your objection to it? How else can you express that idea? If it rains, I wear a raincoat - can that be ungrammatical? If it rains, I will wear a raincoat means something else.

    It reminds me of the town clerk of a German town I visited who told us all: If the old people are seeek, Vee put them in the Kleenex. It was his pronunciation which worried me, not his grammar.

    I'm glad we've put that wonderful tense of yours to rest. I enjoyed that whole exchange.
     

    Flash3

    Senior Member
    United States and American English
    What's your objection to it? How else can you express that idea? If it rains, I wear a raincoat - can that be ungrammatical? If it rains, I will wear a raincoat means something else.

    It reminds me of the town clerk of a German town I visited who told us all: If the old people are seeek, Vee put them in the Kleenex. It was his pronunciation which worried me, not his grammar.
    If it rains, I wear a raincoat
    I'd say When it rains, I wear a raincoat.

    It's just that I learned in English class that there are only 3 ways to express an If/then statement, and Present/Present was not one of them.
    I'm glad we've put that wonderful tense of yours to rest. I enjoyed that whole exchange.
    *Takes note of the sarcasm* Me too. I'm not quite sure where I got that from.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If it rains, I wear a raincoat
    I'd say When it rains, I wear a raincoat.

    It's just that I learned in English class that there are only 3 ways to express an If/then statement, and Present/Present was not one of them.

    *Takes note of the sarcasm* Me too. I'm not quite sure where I got that from.
    I am never sarcastic, Flash. If I hadn't enjoyed it, I might well have told you so. I genuinely thought it was amusing. The name of the tense was so probable, and then the support of the hits on Google.

    Let's return to the problem. I thought you were an English speaker, first language. If so, you have no need of books to put you right on such elementary matters. Your ears will tell you that you can say that, surely. It's not slangy or colloquial in any way. The book you quote may be providing a general guide for foreigners learning English, but it's misleading if it is saying that this sequence of tenses gives the only combinations grammatically acceptable.

    Of course when it rains, I wear a raincoat is fine, but does if it rains, I wear a raincoat really offend some grammatical sense in you?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This thread has wandered very far from its original topic and has been through some very general topics on its way to here.

    Fortunately, it appears that the original question has been addressed.

    If there is a specific topic that you wish to discuss, please open a new thread for it. This one is now closed.
     
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