Genderson: I told you not to take the turnpike.

KRAMER: I thought we would blend in.

Genderson: If we took the Palisades, this never would've happened.

KRAMER: Then we would've had all that bridge traffic.

Genderson: Ah, just drive.

I don't like took in the conditional sentence. Instead of took it should be had taken. What is it: a different grammar structure or just a colloquialism?

  • It's just colloquial sloppiness. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 2 '14 at 0:53
  • 1
    Colloquialism. The dialogue in Seinfeld is one big exercise in how to talk like a New Yorker. – relaxing Mar 2 '14 at 2:45
  • 1
    It doesn't feel sloppy to me. – user230 Mar 2 '14 at 12:53

It's as StoneyB and relaxing said in their comments. Michael Swan's Practical English Usage also mentions this "past simple instead of a past perfect". Here is the relevant section.

262 if (7): other structures found in spoken English

4 mixed tenses
Sometimes a simple past tense is used with if where a past perfect would be normal. This is more common in American English.
    If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake.
    If I had the money with me I would have bought you one.
    If I didn't have my walking boots on I think I would have really hurt my foot.

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.