In the Friends TV show Phoebe complains about her bank and five hundred extra dollars in her account. She explains that she can't spend that money in the following words:

Let's say I bought a really great pair of shoes, do you know what I'd hear with every step I took.

Why does she use past simple saying I took? I thought it had to be like with every step I'd took take in the second conditional.

Could someone please explain what I'm missing and point me out to a rule or something about this?

1 Answer 1


First of all, I'd took is ungrammatical - the past perfect is I had (I'd) taken. But the past perfect is not required in conditional phrases like this.

If I could take a seaside holiday, as soon as I arrived I would go and look at the sea. (not as soon as I had arrived).

  • Thank you, so this actually means that everything in this type of conditional should be in the past? And since I took here is even more past than I'd hear we use either past perfect or just past simple (because we can understand the order of the events from the sentence), right? Sorry if what I'm saying is quite wrong, I'm just trying to explain this in my own words Aug 24, 2020 at 9:18
  • I don't think it will help you to worry about the logic of the order in which things happened. You just have to accept that this is how such sentences are written. Aug 24, 2020 at 14:55
  • So to be clear if I speak about past in unreal future I can safely use past simple, right? Aug 24, 2020 at 15:55
  • You are not speaking about the past, but about a hypothetical situation. Aug 24, 2020 at 18:08
  • 1
    You were a long time noticing that, since it was the first thing I corrected! You might say that, but I took is much more natural. Aug 25, 2020 at 7:58

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