0

Consider this sentence:

He said he would have called her, but he hadn't got her number.

Can I use "hadn't got" here, or I should use if clause like:

He said he would have called her if he had got her number.

0

The words "if" and "but" may be similar, but they aren't exactly interchangeable. The word you should use depends on what you are trying to say.

He said he would have called her, but he never got her number.
Paraphrase: He never got her number; therefore, he didn't call her.

He said he would have called her, if he had gotten her number.
Paraphrase: If he had gotten her number, he would have called her.

The phrasing with "if" is a bit more hypothetical.

| improve this answer | |
  • So with 'but' I should use simple past "he never got" or "he didn't have" and with 'if' I should use past perfect "he had gotten', right? – blinker Apr 26 '18 at 6:48
  • @blinker - I don't think it's that straightforward. There are several ways you can form a sentences with these words, depending on what you are trying to say. If he had never gotten her number, they would have never started dating. He tried to call her, but she didn't have her phone. Those are valid sentences, too. – J.R. Apr 26 '18 at 10:27
0

You can use an if-then clause. The correct way to say this is with the past perfect in the “if” clause, and the conditional perfect in the “then” clause:

He said if he had gotten her number, he would have called her.

("...if he had gotten her number" is the if clause and "he would have called her" is the then clause)

https://data.grammarbook.com/blog/verbs/if-i-would-have-vs-if-i-had/

| improve this answer | |
  • So I can't use 'but' with this phrase? – blinker Apr 25 '18 at 20:21
  • The if-then clause wouldn't work if you used 'but'. Simply, the proper structure of saying the sentence in question is "if this happened, then this would have happened." You can use the sentence you have now but it's not structurally proper. – Colt Apr 26 '18 at 7:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.