Regarding the present perfect tense: suppose my friend and I have made a plan today that we are going to go shopping today before evening, but at the moment we are still in the office and I am telling to my friend, If we have finished our job by 3 o'clock, then we can go shopping.

Is this sentence OK? Can this be said like this in English or there are other ways to express the same thing?

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    Idiomatically, most speakers would probably use Simple Past (If we finished, without have). And because it's a hypothetical situation, ...then we could go shopping might be preferred. But note that it's also perfectly okay to use the "Present in the Future" version If we finish by 3 o'clock... Personally I think that latter version more strongly implies that the speaker is urging the addressee to agree that finishing before 3 is a good idea, so both parties will share common purpose in trying to bring that situation about. Oct 26, 2016 at 17:34
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    You don't need the perfect; "If we finish our job by 3 o'clock, then we can go shopping" is fine.
    – BillJ
    Oct 26, 2016 at 17:36
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    What is hypothetical situation Oct 27, 2016 at 18:38
  • you might find actual examples like "if we finished by 3, then..." but this is decidedly non-standard. I would only use this for the past, e.g. "if they finished by 3 yesterday, then you can pay them for their work." for future uncertain situations only "if we have finished by 3" or "if we finish by 3" are idiomatically correct.
    – mobileink
    Oct 28, 2016 at 20:51
  • a hypothetical situation is just a possible situation. since you are talking about the future when you say "if X by 3 o'clock then Y" (where 3 o'clock refers to the future, not the past), the event X may or may not actually occur, which makes it hypothetical, in a sense.
    – mobileink
    Oct 28, 2016 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


Yes, this sentence is grammatically correct. Usually it's written as "3 o'clock" though.

Another way to write this sentence would be, "If we have finished work by 3 o'clock, then we can go shopping."

Or, to mix things around, "We can go shopping if we finish work by 3 o'clock."

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