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I was surfing the web and came across this sentence:

If she had been that close to me, I'd have heard her if she had called me..

I was wondering if splitting the if part of a conditional sentence normal, and if it's widely used.

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  • Please give an example of what you mean by "splitting the if part of a conditional sentence". To me, it means If she had been, I'd have heard her if she had called me, that close to me, which is obviously wrong. Or do you mean If she had been that close to me and if she had called me, I'd have heard her? – Greybeard Oct 2 '20 at 10:58
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    Your sentence sounds fine to me. It’s not really splitting—it’s two separate if clauses. – Xanne Oct 2 '20 at 11:25
  • It's fine, but fairly rare. The conditional adjuncts "If she had been that close to me" and "if she had called me" are the protases and "I'd have heard her" is the apodosis. The latter is the outcome of the two conditions being met. – BillJ Oct 2 '20 at 12:25
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It's correct and perhaps the clearest ordering. There are two separate if-clauses. The fronted one selects the more global (this can be a matter of choice) condition. The merged conditional

  • If she had been that close to me, and if she had called me, I'd have heard her

has a very different emphasis, perhaps even meaning. If A and B (B and A) were both true, then ....

....................

Note that the following (response) sentences are better not interchanged:

  • Someone says they heard Charlotte shout to you for help. You say you heard nothing. But did you see what happened to Charlotte? Were you both in the same field?

  • If she had been that close to me, I'd have heard her if she had called out to me.

.......

  • Someone says they saw you enter the lower field minutes after Charlotte. Didn't she cry out to you for help?

  • If she had called out to me, I'd have heard her if she had been that close to me.

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    There would be some intonational cues in pronunciation. The second if-clause, at the end, would be at a lower intonation level than the first, at the beginning. Likewise, the lack of comma before the second if shows that it would be pronounced as a unit with the clause preceding it, which further separates them. – John Lawler Oct 2 '20 at 15:48

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