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Natalie
"If I'd have been..." Here is a sentence that confuses me a bit:

"If I'd have been more attentive at school in my early years, I'd have studied more, and harder"

This is not my first time hearing people say this. And all were from British people. Is it a British kind of way to say it?

Because if I wanted to say something like that, I'd more likely say: "If I was more attentive at school in my early years, I would've studied more, and harder".

Thanks!

Feb 19, 2018 1:02 AM
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What you heard the Brits saying there was actually.......... wrong. Sorry, Limeys!! (don't worry - Canadians can do the same thing!)

Well done! Thinking of the unabridged version of what they are saying here, I think it is:

If I would have been more attentive at school in my early years I would have studied more, and harder.

This structure demands this:

If I had been more attentive at school in my early years I would have studied more, and harder.


If the British person then says, "No; I meant, 'If I had have been more attentive at school in my early years I would have studied etc.'"

Then that is even worse.

I wouldn't use "If I was...." personally, at least not in this sentence.  "If I was..." tends to be used for a hypothetical situation. So, "If I was more attentive I would probably enjoy the film more."

February 19, 2018

"If I would have been more attentive, I would have studied harder" is wrong. It should read "if I had been more attentive, I would have studied harder." This is the third conditional.

No, it's not a British way to say it at all. In fact, I don't know why, but that particular mistake seems to be unique to Americans (not to British people). Many (not all) Americans don't conjugate the third conditional correctly.

Just because people are native speakers of a language doesn't mean they speak it correctly. 


Your sentence

"If I was more attentive, I would have studied harder" is also wrong. You need to say "if I had been more attentive, I would have studied harder." This is also the third conditional.

Alternatively, perhaps you were trying to use the second conditional. If so, your sentence should be "if I were more attentive, I would study harder."

I think maybe you just need to revise the rules for forming conditional sentences. Then, once you know the rules, you won't need to question whether people are making mistakes or not. You will just know.


http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/conditional2.htm



February 19, 2018
The ‘d in your example is “would” — we know that since it’s followed by the base form of the verb. Actually, I would have told you that was colloquial American, but you report hearing it from UK speakers, so that’s interesting. Anyhow, you’ll hear it a lot in the US, but the correct form is “if I had been” (contraction: “if I’d been”). Unless the word “would” is being used with its original meaning (would want), then we really should use the simple past subjunctive in the if-clause.

This is a common grammar issue, so I wrote a mini-article a week or so ago:

February 19, 2018
Probably.

Besides, they're just different by contraction.

I'd have= (contraction of I + would) + have

I would've= I + (contraction of would + have)

February 19, 2018
Natalie
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), English, Russian
Learning Language
English, Russian