On this page, https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar-reference/verbs-in-time-clauses-and-if-clauses, there is a section called "Making hypotheses" It says: some conditional clauses are like hypotheses, so we use past tense forms. We use past tense forms to talk about something that does not happen or is not happening in the present. One of the examples from that section is given below:

If Jack was playing, they would probably win.

The tense in this sentence confuses me. If I were to rewrite it, I would say, "If Jack was playing, they could/would have probably won. Shouldn't we use the past modal could have/would have here? I am also not sure, whether "could have" or "would have" should be used. As it is a result of the past unreal condition that we are talking about, my choice would be - would have. Could have also sounds appropriate because it is about the possibility in the past which didn't happen. Can someone explain to me how to approach this?

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    Your rewrite uses "was" to express past time, but the "was" in If Jack was playing, they would probably win does not refer to past time; instead it has to do with modality, not time. – BillJ Mar 22 at 17:10
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    If Jack was playing, they would probably win uses was and modal would to reference a "counterfactual" assertion (context requires that Jack isn't playing, with the strong implication that they will therefore lose). If you change the modal to a "Perfect" form (...they'd probably have won) you're changing the meaning (the Perfect version only works if they've already lost, at time of utterance). – FumbleFingers Mar 22 at 17:13
  • Okay. Thanks,guys. If I am changing the modal verb to a perfect form, shouldn’t I be using “had played” instead of “was playing”: “If Jack had played, they would have probably won” ? – Ammu Mar 23 at 1:37

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