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I know the above sentence is not grammatically correct.I feel the sentence should be like:

  1. If I had not gone to the party, I would not have met my friend who came there.
  2. If I did not go to the party, I would not meet my friend who came there.

In the first case, I used past perfect "had" and in the second clause "would not have". I think this will be an imaginary situation which does not fit in this context because the person has actually attended the party.

  • You're quite right that the construction in your title is simply "invalid". But your alternatives mean different things. #1 implies that you did go (it talks about what would have happened if you had not gone). But #2 (which would normally be expressed as If I don't go to the party, I won't meet him) refers to a possible future situation. Note that the more complex tense usage of your example #2 is quite unusual among native speakers - it's not actually syntactically invalid, but it's often a very strong indicator that the speaker isn't a native Anglophone. – FumbleFingers Mar 12 '18 at 18:34
  • @ FumbleFingers What about such a sentence: If I did not (regularly) go to the (regularly held) party (parties?), I would not (regularly) meet my friend who (regularly) comes there. It seems to me to be correct. – Michael Login Mar 12 '18 at 18:43
  • Note the difference between (1) If I didn't love you, I wouldn't have married you, and (2) If I hadn't loved you, I wouldn't have married you. The second version, which is far less likely, would usually be taken as implying I loved you then, but I don't love you now. – FumbleFingers Mar 12 '18 at 18:43
  • @Mv Log: Yes, it's perfectly natural to use If I didn't [do X] to refer to the hypothetical possibility of not doing something that you're currently doing. My point about "indication of non-native speaker" was because many nns (in particular, Northern Europeans, I think, because of the way tenses work in their native languages) tend to use these more complex forms that we don't usually bother with. – FumbleFingers Mar 12 '18 at 18:49
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The difficulties with your examples arise partly from the use of the verb come as well as with the tenses.

It's clear that you are speaking in Example 1 after you had gone to the party. You are no longer at the party. Therefore you need to say that your friend went to the party. If you were still at the party, your friend would have come to the party.

That's to say, you use come to mean towards me and go to mean away from me or in some other direction.

This is slightly complicated in your examples because you are imagining yourself at the party when you write them.

To avoid this difficulty, you might write:

If I had not gone to the party, I would not have met my friend who arrived there/showed up there/turned up there/was also present.

Example 2 is more complicated. You are writing it before you decide whether to go to the party:

If I did not go to the party.....

You conclude that:

I would not meet my friend

which is perfectly correct

But because you are not at the party, which you may or may not attend, you need to conclude:

I would not meet my friend who is going there/going to be there/will be there/will also be there, etc

But you cannot say: who came there because you are not there yourself and because this uses the past tense to describe an event that lies in the future for you.

  • Did you mean It's clear that you are speaking in Example 1 after you had not gone to the party.? – Michael Login Mar 12 '18 at 18:59
  • @MvLog No. If you say: If I had not gone to the party...., it means that you went to the party. If you say: If I do/did not go the party... you are deciding whether to go the party. – Ronald Sole Mar 12 '18 at 19:10
  • ...you had gone to the party. You are no longer at the party. Is not there a contradiction? – Michael Login Mar 12 '18 at 19:12
  • No. The writer is reflecting on what the consequences might have been if he/she had not gone to the party. This is equivalent to saying: If I had not set the smoke alarm, the house would have burned down. This means that the house did not burn down because you did set the smoke alarm. That's to say that the writer met his friend because he did go to the party. If he had not gone to the party, he would not have met his friend. In the same way if he had not set the smoke alarm, the house would have burned down. – Ronald Sole Mar 12 '18 at 19:19
  • I do understand that ))) You should have written something like You imagine that you are no longer at the party, otherwise it could be read that you had gone to the party and you are no longer there at the same time which is not the case. – Michael Login Mar 12 '18 at 19:28

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