1

I watched a video "English on movies" and met such a sentence that I can't understand:

I don't think Tony would have done what he did, if he didn't know you were gonna be here after he was gone.

I understand, sort of, what conditional and mixed sentences are, but let's say we have one conditional sentence here:

I don't think Tony would have done what he did, if he didn't know.

As I understand it the principle works here

  • If (Past Simple) + (would have + V3)

But I can't understand why:

you were gonna be here after he was gone

Why is the past here, if we are talking about the present, or this is already another conditional sentence?

Something from these proposals in my head all mixed up.

8
  • It's not the "counter-factual conditional" past tense, it's ordinary back-shifting in reported speech after know.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 21, 2021 at 0:05
  • Unless the fact that Tony knows / knew that you'd be around is still relevant at time of speaking, it would probably be better to refer to his knowledge thereof using Past Perfect ...if he hadn't known you would be here... rather than using "past tense do-support". Feb 21, 2021 at 14:55
  • Compare I wouldn't have married you if I didn't love you (by implication, I still do love you) with I wouldn't have hit him if he hadn't insulted me (not normally ...if he didn't insult me). Feb 21, 2021 at 14:58
  • @FumbleFingers Thank you for your comment. I seem to understand your comparison and in fact in my example : he didn't know refers to the moment in the past before its decision(also in the past) and is therefore better : if he hadn't know?
    – Loken
    Feb 21, 2021 at 23:09
  • No, that's not what I meant. As I said in my first comment, Past Perfect is probably better for your specific example (including the switch from you were gonna be to would be) if you're focused on explaining his past action. The alternative if he didn't know is better if the fact of Tony knowing that the addressee would stick around is currently still relevant. Feb 22, 2021 at 12:25

0

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .