Can you please explain me the difference in meanings between these two sentences?

This would not have been happened if you were not there at that time.
This would have not been happened if you were not there at that time.

  • I'm not familiar with have (not) been happened; it should be have (not) happened. As for wouldn't have ... vs. would haven't ..., please wait for the answers from others. By the way, welcome to ELL! Jan 13, 2014 at 17:27
  • 3
    Neither is possible. These constructions, with BE + past participle, are passive; but happen is intransitive and cannot be cast in the passive. Jan 13, 2014 at 17:33
  • Furthermore, the consequence clause would normally be if you had not been there at that time. Jan 13, 2014 at 17:41
  • Neither of the two sentences are grammatically correct. Where did you "read" these examples? Did someone tell you that these sentences were English?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 14, 2014 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


Neither sentence is grammatical English or something that a native would typically say, so it is pointless to argue over what they might mean. I don't see a reason to correct them differently.

“*This would not have been happened” is a passive construction. But happen is not a transitive verb, so it cannot be used in the passive voice. It is likely that the author of this sentence intended to write “This would not have happened”, i.e. the event mentioned previously would not have taken place.

In addition to the previous defect, “*this would have not been happened” is incorrect because the negation cannot be placed where it is. The negation word not is normally placed after the first auxiliary: “this would not have …”.

Furthermore, the second part of the sentence is in the wrong tense. “This would have happened” is a past conditional. The part of the sentence introduced by if is a past hypothetical. It needs to be in the past tense because the time of the action is in the past; in addition, the hypothetical aspect is expressed by a past tense, which means the verb needs to be in the pluperfect tense: “if you had not been there at that time”.

A correct sentence resembling these two incorrect sentences is

This would not have happened if you had not been there at that time.

I can't think of a correct sentence with a different meaning that could be what the author was trying to express.

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