I've just seen an American movie in which a man said:

"I wouldn't have brought you here if I didn't believe in you."

My question is, shouldn't have said "If I hadn't believed in you"

In my view, it's the 3rd conditional and there should be Past Perfect tense used instead of Past Simple. 

  • 3
    Please note that terms like ‘third conditional’ are quite meaningless to most native English speakers. They're part of a system developed to teach English as a foreign language to non-native speakers in some parts of the world, and other people generally have no idea what they refer to. Nov 18, 2016 at 17:12
  • 2
    In everyday U.S. English speech, "didn't" for "hadn't" is extremely common, although probably not predominant, in certain contexts. Once we accept that reality, I'm not sure where we can go with the notion that they should say it differently.
    – Sven Yargs
    Nov 18, 2016 at 17:23
  • Thank you for your answer. However, it brought up a question in my mind: which of these two (didn't it hadn't) I should use on the IELTS ?
    – user199254
    Nov 18, 2016 at 18:32

1 Answer 1


I wouldn't have brought you here if I didn't believe in you.

The sentence is grammatical; it's a mixed conditional sentence. It shows the present unreal situation with its unreal past result.

I wouldn't have brought you here if I hadn't believed in you.

This is a conditional type 3 sentence; it shows the past unreal situation.

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