If I had food at home, I would not have come here.

In the former clause of this sentence, should past perfect(If I had had food at home) not be used instead of simple past, as the event being talked about refers to the past ?

  • Past perfect is correct.
    – bak1936
    Feb 2, 2022 at 13:20
  • 1
    [in the previous clause or clause above] Yes, If I had had is right.
    – Lambie
    Feb 2, 2022 at 14:36
  • (Upvoted Lambie's comment in error). I Feb 2, 2022 at 14:45
  • Simple past is correct if the speaker means "RIGHT NOW I have no food at home, and if I did have food at home, I would not have come."
    – gotube
    Feb 3, 2022 at 5:52

1 Answer 1


It depends on whether the speaker has come here today or is referring to an earlier occasion.

If I had food at home [now] I would not have come here [today].

If I had had food at home [then], I would not have come here [on that occasion].

  • The second example also works for "this occasion" or "today." A past condition can be linked to a present outcome. The question is whether the food at home refers to the present or the past, not when you come given the sentence at issue. Feb 3, 2022 at 0:59
  • If the latter part of the sentence refers to the present, shouldn't the sentence be used with 'would' instead of 'would have', as 'would have' is used in when referring to the past ?
    – Rayhan
    Feb 3, 2022 at 2:45
  • If the speaker is 'here', the action of 'coming here' is already in the (recent) past. Feb 3, 2022 at 9:18
  • So, 'would' should be used, right ?
    – Rayhan
    Feb 11, 2022 at 12:41
  • Would should be used for what? I provided two examples (for different circumstances) in my answer. Feb 11, 2022 at 16:43

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