We were taught at school that condition 3 (would+have+v3) is used for unreal past, which means "there is no more chance for it to happen in the other way around" such as "if you had driven the car carefully, he would not have died". So, we can easily understand that "condition 3" is used there is no more opportunity for something to happen in another way because it already happened in the past. You can't reverse the time.

But today, I was watching ITV and the TV presenter, when he appeared after a break, said: "if you were watching earlier, you would have heard me talk about the solution."

He simply referred to his previous talk about a solution before the break. And break-time passed by. So he appeared again and he continued talking on the same issue. So he wanted to remind the viewers that he was talking about this issue before the break time.

But I got confused when I heard him said ""if you were watching earlier, you would have heard me talk about the solution." He used conditional 3 (would have v3) which seemed irrevelant to the situation, as in this situation he is not referring to a past event which he now wishes to have happened in the opposite way. What he is doing is to guess something did happen. So, the situation here is not a wish for past event, and it is only a guess or presumption about a past event.

So; 1- why did TV presenter say "if you were......., you would have heard me..."? 2- Is this really conditional 3, because the "if+sentence" is not past perfect. 3- Would it not have been better if he instead said "....you must have heard me...", not "would have heard" because he is guession or presuming that something was highly likely the case.


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    I can't see what the problem is here. The conditional perfect (would have + past participle) describes something that might have happened in the past.The viewers might have been watching earlier, or perhaps not. – Billy Kerr Jan 22 '18 at 12:42
  • The problem here is that TV presenter does not wish for a past event to have happened the opposite way. He is just guessing or presuming that something did happen in the past. This situation is the same as the one "when you see that the ground is wet and say "it must have rained", isn't it? – yunus Jan 23 '18 at 13:20

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