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?

  • 1
    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. – FumbleFingers Oct 26 '16 at 17:34
  • 1
    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 '16 at 17:36
  • 1
    What is hypothetical situation – Meraj hussain Oct 27 '16 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 '16 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 '16 at 20:56

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."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.