What are the differences between these sentences?

It would be great if you bought some apples too

It would have been great if you had bought some apples too

It will be great if you buy some apples too

I would actually like to know to which particular situations each of these sentences are appropriate.

Which of these are the most suitable for a situation such as this: I've just returned from the market and my brother says: "It would be/have been great, if you bought/had bought some apples to"

  • All three of those form a grammatically proper sequence of tenses, but they mean different things. Do you have a question? If so, what is it? Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 15:26

2 Answers 2


The second is used when you had some past opportunity to buy apples, but didn't. The first and third are used when discussing a future opportunity to buy apples. The first and third are largely the same, but the first is more natural. The first is in the subjunctive mood, and is more hypothetical. The third is conditional, and gives more of a sense of thinking it's likely. Like "If you buy apples, then it will be great."


The first would be appropriate before you go shopping, the person wants you to buy some apples.

The second one would be appropriate if you have returned from shopping without any apples and the person is disappointed and wishes you had bought apples.

The third I am not sure about, if you buy apples, it will be great, in the future. Sounds odd to me, like if you buy apples it is going to be allright. Any suggestions from native speakers?

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