You wouldn’t think it’s cool if you’re 11 years old

xiaokyao

Senior Member
chinese
Rachel:I love her books. I can not get on a plane without one. I mean, this is so cool.
Chandler:You wouldn’t think it’s cool if you’re 11 years old and all your friends are passing around page 79 of Mistress Bitch.
These words are from the American TV show “Friends”.
Mistress Bitch is a book written by Chandler’smom. And Chandler doesn’t like her mom’s books.
My question is: I think it’s grammatically correct if Chandler says “you wouldn’t think it is cool if you were 11 years old and all your friends were passing around page 79 of Mistress Bitch” But I’m not sure if it’s correct using present simple in this dialogue. I want to know if it’s possible in the informal or everyday speech,people, especially AE speakers,would use present simple in this situation.
Thank you!
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If you are 11 years old, you wouldn't think it is cool.:cross:

    There seem to me to be two issues here: the tense sequencing in the conditional sentence, and the tense sequencing in indirect speech (after think).

    They depend on each other - for me it has to be one of these three:

    1. If you are 11 years old, you don't think it is cool.
    2. If you were 11 years old, you wouldn't think it is cool.
    3. If you were 11 years old, you wouldn't think it was cool.


    Unless you use the obvious way of getting round the second problem, and say

    4. If you were 11 years old, you wouldn't think it cool.

    For me, the likely hypothetical presented is either 3. or 4. I think 2. is just possible, but, while 1. might be correct in different circumstances, it is not what this person is trying to say in this case.

    I'm not suggesting that the order has to be inverted, but I think the original has its tenses tangled. I'd probably say:

    You wouldn't think it cool, if you were 11 years old and all your friends were passing around etc.
     
    Last edited:

    xiaokyao

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Hello, Thomas! Thanks for your answer!
    But I still have one question, since you mentioned the tense sequencing, why did you say that 2 was possible? Actually this might be go off the topic, but I don't really understand the tense sequencing. For instance, I went to that city last month, the traffice there was horrible. I mean, the traffic in that city is always horrible. But I've noticed people still used past simple to convey this sense. Wouldn't it be odd to say"I went to that city last month, the traffci there is horrible"?
    If you are 11 years old, you wouldn't think it is cool.:cross:

    There seem to me to be two issues here: the tense sequencing in the conditional sentence, and the tense sequencing in indirect speech (after think).

    They depend on each other - for me it has to be one of these three:

    1. If you are 11 years old, you don't think it is cool.
    2. If you were 11 years old, you wouldn't think it is cool.
    3. If you were 11 years old, you wouldn't think it was cool.


    Unless you use the obvious way of getting round the second problem, and say

    4. If you were 11 years old, you wouldn't think it cool.

    For me, the likely hypothetical presented is either 3. or 4. I think 2. is just possible, but, while 1. might be correct in different circumstances, it is not what this person is trying to say in this case.

    I'm not suggesting that the order has to be inverted, but I think the original has its tenses tangled. I'd probably say:

    You wouldn't think it cool, if you were 11 years old and all your friends were passing around etc.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello, Thomas! Thanks for your answer!
    But I still have one question, since you mentioned the tense sequencing, why did you say that 2 was possible? Actually this might be go off the topic, but I don't really understand the tense sequencing. For instance, I went to that city last month, the traffice there was horrible. I mean, the traffic in that city is always horrible. But I've noticed people still used past simple to convey this sense. Wouldn't it be odd to say"I went to that city last month, the traffci there is horrible"?
    Try this thread for a brief explanation of this point, and put indirect/direct speech into the look-up box at the top of this page to find some of the many threads on this point.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Rachel:I love her books. I can not get on a plane without one. I mean, this is so cool.
    Chandler:You wouldn’t think it’s cool if you’re 11 years old and all your friends are passing around page 79 of Mistress Bitch.
    These words are from the American TV show “Friends”.
    Mistress Bitch is a book written by Chandler’smom. And Chandler doesn’t like her mom’s books.
    My question is: I think it’s grammatically correct if Chandler says “you wouldn’t think it is cool if you were 11 years old and all your friends were passing around page 79 of Mistress Bitch” But I’m not sure if it’s correct using present simple in this dialogue. I want to know if it’s possible in the informal or everyday speech,people, especially AE speakers,would use present simple in this situation.
    Thank you!
    Sometimes in fast speech "you were" might get shortened to "you're", but that would not explain "friends are" in the same if clause.

    "You wouldn't think it's cool" makes sense, and "It's not cool if you're 11 years old and all your friends are passing around page 79 of Mistress Bitch" makes sense, but overlapping the two structures does not quite work for me.

    I think the speaker is just conflating different structures in mid sentence without bothering to stop and reword. I can imagine saying something like this:

    You wouldn't think it's cool if.... Well, imagine you are 11 years old and all your friends are passing around page 79 of Mistress Bitch. You wouldn't think it was cool then, would you?
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top