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Thread: Question RE: Conditional in the past

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    Question RE: Conditional in the past

    Here is the original sentence said by a native american:
    "if I hadn't lost some of my hearing, I wouldn't be where I am now. It forced me to maximize my own potential."

    Here is a rule from Grammar in Use (Cambridge)
    "When we talk about something that might have happened in the past, but didn't, then we use if + past perfect and would have + past participle in the main clause:
    • If I had known how difficult the job was, I wouldn't have taken it."

    Accordint to the rule the sentence above must be:
    "if I hadn't lost some of my hearing, I wouldn't have been..."

    Why am i confused?

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timon View Post
    Here is the original sentence said by a native american:
    "if I hadn't lost some of my hearing, I wouldn't be where I am now. It forced me to maximize my own potential."

    Here is a rule from Grammar in Use (Cambridge)
    "When we talk about something that might have happened in the past, but didn't, then we use if + past perfect and would have + past participle in the main clause:
    • If I had known how difficult the job was, I wouldn't have taken it."

    Accordint to the rule the sentence above must be:
    "if I hadn't lost some of my hearing, I wouldn't have been..."

    Why am i confused?
    You are confused because you look at the rule but not at the words in the sentence. The job example talks about taking or not taking the job, which is in the past, therefore "wouldn't have". But the sentence you have quoted talks about where the person would or wouldn't be now, not in the past, so it can't be past tense. At a future point in time the person could say "if I hadn't lost some of my hearing, then at the beginning of 2011 I wouldn't have been where I was then."
    Спасибо за исправления!

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    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    Also a small thing:

    The phrase "native American" is normally taken to mean a person from a particular race - the indigenous Americans (previously known as "American Indians", however this term has since fallen out of use due to being inaccurate).

    I suspect you didn't have this very specific meaning in mind when you said "native American", so I'd suggest you simply use the term "American" in future. (Or if you did have this particular meaning in mind, ignore this post )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demonic_Duck View Post
    Also a small thing:

    The phrase "native American" is normally taken to mean a person from a particular race - the indigenous Americans (previously known as "American Indians", however this term has since fallen out of use due to being inaccurate).

    I suspect you didn't have this very specific meaning in mind when you said "native American", so I'd suggest you simply use the term "American" in future. (Or if you did have this particular meaning in mind, ignore this post )
    I did not mean the Indians Thank you for the remark, it is useful and interesteing.

    To bitpicker. Thanks a lot, i got it. It is so nice to feel another one grammar rule is tackled

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    Your error: The rule talks about "something that might have happened", but your sentence is about something that did happen in the past.

    Native American

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