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  1. I thought about how things would have turned out if he had been along, we wouldn't have talked a lot.

  2. I thought about how if he had been along, we wouldn't have talked a lot.

They are the same, right?

things would have turned out just can be removed without changing anything in meaning and nuance, right?

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  • Posting as a comment because I am not sure there is a definitive answer to this, it's quite subjective, but to me there is different in meaning and nuance. The second is a what-if about (let's imagine) last Tuesday, and how last Tuesday could have been different, whereas the first implies a degree of what-if up to the present day. How things would have turned out (now) if last Tuesday had been different. Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 3:58
  • Different syntax and different meanings.
    – BillJ
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 8:52

1 Answer 1

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They are similar sentences.

  1. I thought about how things would have turned out if he had been along, we wouldn't have talked a lot.

"things would have turned out" implies a final result, an outcome.

There are two possible outcomes which might be referred to:

  • a. The final results (even up to the present day) of what happened.

or

  • b. In a more restricted sense, only what happened on the day of the event.

Because you continue to say "we wouldn't have talked...", it implies meaning (b.), and lends support to your idea that it would not change anything.

Yet, the reader can not avoid thinking about meaning (a.), even if you didn't intend it, because it's one of the meanings inherent in "turned out".

Next,

  1. I thought about how, if he had been along, we wouldn't have talked a lot.

This is a simple cause-and-effect chain:

if he had been along

then

we wouldn't have talked a lot.

There isn't a reference to a more weighty and important final result.

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