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This is a very similar question to the last one(see here:Tense usage in an imaginary discussion), but this time I have problems with imaginary situations in the past

When I chat with my friends, we often come up with imaginary situations. What if the situation happened in the past, should I use past perfect subjunctive mood?

Question:

Can I just keep everything in simple present tense like "will", "can", ....?

or

I have to use "would have", "could have" and verbs in the form of “had + past perfect form” because of past perfect subjunctive mood or something?

or

I have to use "would", "could" and verbs in past tense?

Down below are two examples.

(My friend and I are talking about a training I did two days ago, but he didn't go with me.)

I say:

At the time, you would find me to be very strong.

or

At the time, you would have found me to be very strong.

Or simply just say it in the present tense.

At the time, you find me to be very strong.

The second example: (My friend and I are talking about Arnold)

I say:

Imagine you had trained with Arnold during his peak career time in 1970. You had had difficulties to lift heavier weights. He had shared his experiences with you to help. Wouldn’t it have been so lucky to have the best bodybuilding legend as your training partner?

Should I write sentences like that, or it is ok to use simple past tense or present tense instead?

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    "... you would have found me to be strong" – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 28 '17 at 13:15
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The answer to your previous question also applies here, so I won't copy their amazing explanations but to answer your specific examples:


Example 1:

At the time, you would find me to be very strong.

At the time, you would have found me to be very strong.

These both mean the same thing and are correct. The listener will understand: Here is an imaginary situation and this is probably what would have happened.

At the time, you find me to be very strong.

This is different because it is a command. It can still be used in imaginary situations but in creating a fictional story instead of saying possible truths. So the listener will understand: Here is an imaginary situation and it is not based on probable truth. It does not communicate what would have probably happened, and the listener will be waiting for something you are leading the story towards, maybe a question or a joke.


Example 2:

You can write this in several ways, and the difference between them is the perspective of what time you are looking at the imaginary situation from.

(Past Perfect)
Imagine you had trained with Arnold during his peak career time in 1970. You had had difficulties lifting heavier weights. He had shared his experiences with you to help.

(Past Simple)
Imagine you trained with Arnold during his peak career time in 1970. You had difficulties lifting heavier weights. He shared his experiences with you to help.

In Past Perfect and Past Simple you are looking at the imagined situation always from the present looking back. The listener will be anticipating a question or result of how that imagined past would have affected a new imagined present, such as "If that happened, what would you be doing today?".

(Present Simple)
Imagine you train with Arnold during his peak career time in 1970. You have difficulty lifting heavier weights. He shares his experiences with you to help.

In the Present Simple you are looking at the imagined situation as if you were currently there while it was happening. The listener will be anticipating a question or result still in that imagined past, such as "In that situation, what would you do next?"

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You find me to be awake today.

You will find me to be awake tomorrow.

You found me to be awake yesterday, just as you had found me to be awake the day before that.

You would find me to be awake if you should ever drop by unannounced.

You would have found me to be awake last week, had you stopped by.

Next month, when you look back on this month, you will have found that I was awake all month.

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