I want to express a possible result of an action that might have been carried on in past, but I don't have any idea whether the action is done or not. Consider this sentence:

If you'd read the book, you would know what I mean..

Given the fact that I have no idea whether the listener has read or hasn't read the book, does this construct work?

I want to imply:

  1. This is a strong condition, and I'm sure if the action is done, the result holds true.
  2. I have no idea whether the action is done or not, and I don't want to express It's unlikely that you have read the book. In fact, there is a high chance that listener has read the book.

My inclination is if I remove would in result sentence, it might feel better:

I you'd read the book, you know what I mean..

However, no mixed-conditional that I've found mention the last construct.


After more search, I come to this construct:

If you've read the book, you know what I mean

I think the use of present perfect is more natural and may suggest that this action is possible. Does it? Anyway, I don't know in which conditional categories this falls into.

1 Answer 1


The past perfect in "if" clauses indicates a counterfactual condition: "You didn't read the book but if you had read it..."

For conditions that may or may not be true, a present perfect condition can be used, and so use "will" in the conclusion.

If you've read the book, you'll know what I mean.

And you'll not find this on the list of zero/first/second/third conditional... again this indicates the limited used of this analysis of conditional sentences in English.

  • Thanks James. Is "will" in result necessary, give that I'm talking about present, not future, result?
    – reith
    Nov 10, 2021 at 6:24
  • Yes, "will" here is an indicator of conditionallity and not an indicator of tense.
    – James K
    Nov 10, 2021 at 6:27
  • So is this example incorrect? "If you have read all the chapters, you know who said or did what to whom to lead up to it"
    – reith
    Nov 10, 2021 at 6:30
  • That is actually the first sentence by which I learned I can use present perfect.
    – reith
    Nov 10, 2021 at 6:31
  • I'd prefer "... you'll know who said ...", and I'm not sure of the function of "to lead up to it" (to lead up to what?)
    – James K
    Nov 10, 2021 at 6:32

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