A -- Jim has been abducted, we need to rescue him B -- It's too risky, we I can't go. A -- But he would have done the same for you.

  1. I don't know how to conceptualise this construction.

So what I think this grammar asks me [I'll put myself in B's shoes for a moment] to do is to imagine an alternate reality where I'm abducted and Jim comes to save me. And now I make this imaginative framework a past seen from the present and then I can say "right, If something like this had happened, Jim would have saved me" and yet it's still speculation which is why I say "would have".

pretty sure this is nonsense but maybe it will shed some light on my confusion

  1. Also, why not use there the 2nd conditional (if you were abducted, Jim would do the same for you [rescuing]). Is it precluded by the fact that Jim couldn't perform that act because his trapped himself?
  • 1
    Indeed, I would say "But he would do the same for you," meaning 'if your situations were reversed'. Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 13:07
  • "he would have done" sounds fine to me - although it suggests it is no longer possible for him to do the same thing in reverse.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 16:38


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