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  1. Life would be so much easier if people could anticipate your needs and work to satisfy them. Like, if somebody got you that cup of coffee you hadn't asked for yet.

  2. Life would be so much easier if people could anticipate your needs and work to satisfy them. Like, if somebody got you that cup of coffee you haven't asked for yet.

Are both hadn't and haven't usable here?
Does either affect the meaning of the sentence?
Are both grammatically correct?

  • The first one implies more of an imperfect version of the sentence, implying you hadn't asked for one in the past, while the second sentence is in present form implying that you have yet to ask for one. The first one isn't technically correct I believe, since hadn't is mostly used in a past sentence instead of a present sentence case like it would be here. – Veraen Dec 13 '18 at 12:40
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Either tense can work, but it would be better in the second example to change the tense of "got" to match that of "have".

if somebody got you that cup of coffee you hadn't asked for yet.

if somebody gets you that cup of coffee you haven't asked for yet.

However, the first choice better fits the construction of "would be so much easier... could anticipate...".

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Hadn't is more grammatically correct. The past perfect tense here indicated by the auxiliary verb hadn't denotes (means) an action - not asking for that cup of coffee yet - that started before the past happening - somebody got you that cup of coffee. That action lasted until the past happening happened. It'd be more like "the past of the past". In this case, it's very clear to know which action/event took place first. The sentence as a whole implies an unreal present, which makes the two sentences more coherent (linked) as the followed sentence also implies a similar case - Life would be so much easier if people could...

Haven't, on the other hand, sounds a bit ambiguous (unclear). It indicates the present perfect tense, which doesn't make much sense when it follows the past tense indicating by got. It also breaks the construction made by the followed sentence.

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