"would've been so shocked when I see you there tomorrow"

starrynight

Member
English/Canada
I just thought of this while I was typing out a message to a friend:

If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't have known we would be in the same class together, and then I would've been so shocked when I saw you there tomorrow.

Should it be:

"and then I would be so shocked when I see you there tomorrow"

or even

"and then I would've been so shocked when I see you there tomorrow"

The third one seems the most correct but I don't really understand the logic behind that.

Thanks!
 
  • tomandjerryfan

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    I'd leave it as you have it. You need the Past Unreal Conditional, which is used to describe what you would have done or what would have happened if conditions had been different.

    "If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't have known we would be in the same class together, and then I would've been so shocked when I saw you there tomorrow."

    In other words, you did talk to your friend today, so you do know that you will be having the same class together. You'll likely not be shocked when you find your friend in class tomorrow because you already talked to him/her.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Using saw rather than see indicates that you are talking about an 'alternative universe' in which you are shocked tomorrow - in grammatical terms, you are talking about an unreal condition. See might be confusing, because it would suggest that you are now talking about the real world. The seeing does exist in the real world, but you are not talking about the real world, you are talking about a world in which you are shocked.
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Do the bolded tenses used in the following two sentences work:

    1. If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't know we would be in the same class together, and then I would be so shocked when I saw you there tomorrow.

    2. If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't know we will be in the same class together, and then I would be so shocked when I see you there tomorrow.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    (2) is definitely wrong: that combination of tenses doesn't work at all.

    I don't personally like (1) because the impression I get from the if-clause is that since this conversation has taken place, you do know now and therefore will not be shocked. So as I see it the possibility of not knowing and being shocked is now in the past, pointing to the need for the conditional perfect tense in those two verbs.
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, DonnyB.

    "Wouldn't know" is contrary to fact. It seems to imply "I do know". Does the following combination of tenses work:

    3. If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't know we would be in the same class together, and then I would have been so shocked when I saw you there tomorrow.
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thnaks for the response, DonnyB.
    "Wouldn't know" is contrary to fact. It seems to imply "I do know".
    I don't follow the logic of that. :confused:
    Here are some examples with "wouldn't know" that I've found. As far as I understand, all three sentences that I quote below are examples of a past counterfactual condition with a present counterfactual consequence:
    I wouldn't know this was recorded using iPhone apps if they hadn't told me. (this link)
    My interpretation:

    They told me, so I do know this was recorded using iPhone apps.
    If I hadn't gone through what I went through last year, I wouldn't know about myself and wouldn't be in the mental state I'm in now. (this link)
    My interpretation:

    I went through what I went through last year, so I do know about myself and am in the mental state I'm in now.
    3. If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't know we would be in the same class together...
    I see it the same way in the example of post #7:

    I talked to you today, so I do know we will be in the same class together...
    My question regarding what I've said above:
    Does the analogy that I'm trying to draw make sense, and is my understanding of the tenses in the above sentences correct?
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    If no one lets me know about it, I'll be shocked when I see you tomorrow.
    If no one let me know about it, I'd be shocked when I saw you tomorrow.

    If no one had let me know about it, I would have been shocked when I'd seen you tomorrow.

    ...no?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Does the analogy that I'm trying to draw make sense, and is my understanding of the tenses in the above sentences correct?
    Yes, it does, now that you've explained it like that. :)

    It may be a little bit of an anomaly connected with the way the verb "to know" works. I look at it like this: if somebody tells me something, then at that point I acquire the knowledge, and so from then on afterwards, I know [whatever it is]. So if they hadn't told me, I wouldn't have known then, I wouldn't know know and in all probability I would never know. That being the case, your version (3) will work.

    But if you substitute, say, "find out", "realize" or even "guess", which are broadly comparable in terms of how you might get to know something, then I don't think that logic applies and you'd have to use the conditional perfect.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    If no one lets me know about it, I'll be shocked when I see you tomorrow.
    If no one let me know about it, I'd be shocked when I saw you tomorrow.

    If no one had let me know about it, I would have been shocked when I'd seen you tomorrow.

    ...no?
    I'm not sure the logic isn't a bit strange in (1) although I daresay it might depend on what "it" is.

    But those all work for me otherwise, yes. :)
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the explanation, DonnyB. :)
    1. If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't know we would be in the same class together, and then I would be so shocked when I saw you there tomorrow.
    I've changed the structure of the quoted sentence a little. If the context is as follows: I plan to warn "him" today that tomorrow we will be in the same class together, and, for example, tell someone else what would happen if I didn't, do the bolded tenses work:

    If I didn't talk to him today, he wouldn't know we would be in the same class together, and then he would be so shocked when he saw me there tomorrow.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I've changed the structure of the quoted sentence a little. If the context is as follows: I plan to warn "him" today that tomorrow we will be in the same class together, and, for example, tell someone else what would happen if I didn't, do the bolded tenses work:

    If I didn't talk to him today, he wouldn't know we would be in the same class together, and then he would be so shocked when he saw me there tomorrow.
    I would say those probably work: perhaps I could just tweak it a little bit, though:
    "If I didn't talk to him today, he wouldn't know we were going to be in the same class together, and then he would be so surprised when he saw me there tomorrow".
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks DonnyB. :)
    "and then I would've been so shocked when I see you there tomorrow"
    In my opinion, using "would have been" and "see" implies that the speaker is talking about the real world in which he/she would otherwise have been shocked tomorrow.

    I'm basing my opinion on the following examples:
    Had he avoided being court-martialed, he would have been honorably discharged when his two-year term ends next month. (this link)
    So on Monday, after the sides couldn’t agree on a long-term contract, the Chiefs designated Bowe as their franchise player. Otherwise, Bowe would have become an unrestricted free agent when the signing period begins next Tuesday. (this link)
    If he had got a job two years ago he would have been five years in that job by the time we get to 2020. (this link)
    The combination of tenses below is open to debate as it doesn't follow the sequence of tenses rule:
    I wouldn't know we will be in the same class together
    However, based on my observation, I can say that the bolded "will be" implies that the speaker is talking about the real world in which he/she wouldn't otherwise know that he/she and the addressee will be in the same class together.

    I'm basing my opinion on the following examples:
    If she knew that they would, she would not be telling us that they will not. (this link)
    If she knew that I will talk to her when I see her tomorrow, she wouldn't be telling you that I will talk to her when I see her the day after tomorrow. (this link)
    If the Government had that familiarity, it would know that its request will take over a week of engineer time to complete. (this link)
    On the basis that the sequence of tenses rule is not always observed in conditional sentences, and taking into account the tenses used in the examples above, I can conclude that the bolded tenses used in the three sentences below are correct:

    [X] If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't have known we would be in the same class together, and then I would've been so shocked when I see you there tomorrow.

    [Y] If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't know we will be in the same class together, and then I would've been so shocked when I see you there tomorrow.

    [Z] If I didn't talk to him today, he wouldn't know we will be in the same class together, and then he would be so shocked when he sees me there tomorrow.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    On the basis that the sequence of tenses rule is not always observed in conditional sentences, and taking into account the tenses used in the examples above, I can conclude that the bolded tenses used in the three sentences below are correct:

    [X] If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't have known we would be in the same class together, and then I would've been so shocked when I see you there tomorrow.

    [Y] If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't know we will be in the same class together, and then I would've been so shocked when I see you there tomorrow.

    [Z] If I didn't talk to him today, he wouldn't know we will be in the same class together, and then he would be so shocked when he sees me there tomorrow.
    I can see you've done an admirable amount of very thorough research there. :)

    I will say that I noticed in several of the threads to which you'd linked there was a considerable amount of dissent and one of the things which almost always emerges from any thread involving discussion of conditional sentence structures in this forum is that people will disagree about them.

    I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a grammarian, and my approach is generally to test whether the proposed sentence sounds right, and follows an obvious logic. Based on that, the problem I have with using the present tense for the final verb in X, Y and Z is that it comes across to me as disrupting the flow of the thought process - almost as if the person is following on a train of speculative thought... if I didn't/hadn't done that... this would have happened... he would (have) ... oh, but hang on, back to reality - I am going to see him tomorrow! This I think was the point teddy was making back in post #4, and it's why none of those sentence really work for me.

    Added to that, while it's an interesting grammatical exercise and I have no objection per se to tinkering about with tense sequences to see how they work, once you start coming up with variants which nobody is likely to actually say or use, I'm afraid do start to wonder just a little bit about the value of it. Sorry! :oops:
     

    JJXR

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Thanks for the response, DonnyB.
    Added to that, while it's an interesting grammatical exercise and I have no objection per se to tinkering about with tense sequences to see how they work, once you start coming up with variants which nobody is likely to actually say or use, I'm afraid do start to wonder just a little bit about the value of it. Sorry! :oops:
    As I see it, this is the only way for a non-native speaker to understand how the English language works. I'm trying to identify patterns. I simply don't know what sounds right and what sounds wrong. :)
    I'm not by any stretch of the imagination a grammarian, and my approach is generally to test whether the proposed sentence sounds right, and follows an obvious logic. Based on that, the problem I have with using the present tense for the final verb in X, Y and Z is that it comes across to me as disrupting the flow of the thought process
    Do sentences [Y] and [Z] work if I backshift "see" to "saw" in the when clause, but keep the "will be/are going to be" after the words "wouldn't know" in the original tense:

    [Y] If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't know we will be/are going to be in the same class together, and then I would've been so shocked when I saw you there tomorrow.

    [Z] If I didn't talk to him today, he wouldn't know we will be/are going to be in the same class together, and then he would be so shocked when he saw me there tomorrow.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Do sentences [Y] and [Z] work if I backshift "see" to "saw" in the when clause, but keep the "will be/are going to be" after the words "wouldn't know" in the original tense:

    [Y] If I hadn't talked to you today, I wouldn't know we will be/are going to be in the same class together, and then I would've been so shocked when I saw you there tomorrow.

    [Z] If I didn't talk to him today, he wouldn't know we will be/are going to be in the same class together, and then he would be so shocked when he saw me there tomorrow.
    They both come across to me as a mismatch of tenses: I think you need to backshift after "I wouldn't know that...".

    Either "wouldn't be" or "weren't going to be" will work: I prefer "weren't going to be" on stylistic grounds. :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top