This is related to my other question.

So I went to look up mixed conditionals and the sentence from the linked question fits the form of 'present condition/past result' conditional. Now the rules say that the verb should be in past simple tense for the 'present condition' part. In the linked question the users said that the sentence is idiomatic, but the verb is in present simple tense.

So of the following two sentences which one is idiomatic:

If I hope to finish college, I would have studied.

If I hoped to finish college, I would have studied.

  • hope always points to the future: I hope he will arrive on time. If I hope to finish college, I will have to study. The past one is OK.
    – Lambie
    Jun 26, 2022 at 17:55
  • The first is wrong, see comment above. The second doesn't sound very good either. The following might work: 1- "If I hoped to finish college, I would study." [implied: but I don't have any hope, so I won't study] 2- "If I had hoped to finish college, I would have studied." [implied: but I lost hope at some point in the past so I didn't study]
    – cruthers
    Jun 26, 2022 at 21:55
  • @cruthers so how would you explain the correctness of the sentence in the linked question? Jun 28, 2022 at 9:03
  • The Tolkien sentence is in an elevated style in which no one speaks, and is even hard to interpret for a native speaker without context (which I don't have). There's an idiom that is used nowadays: "If you hope to X, you should/must Y." It explains what you need to do to achieve something. That's how "if you hope to" is typically used in the present tense. Tolkien appears to be using "hope" more literally - i.e. if someone currently has hope that he can do something, a condition must be present.
    – cruthers
    Jun 28, 2022 at 21:31
  • And, furthermore, Tolkien's choice to phrase the condition as "would have grown long" instead of the more idiomatic (at least in present day) "must have grown long" is itself unusual.
    – cruthers
    Jun 28, 2022 at 21:32


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