in The Beatles's when I'm 64 lyric,

teh line tha says:

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?

how come The contraction "I'd" is short for "I had" in this context, if the singer is talking about a coming age, I mean the future?

shouldn't it be: "If have been out till quarter to three Would you lock the door"?

  • "If I have been" is not asking about the future, it's asking about the present.
    – stangdon
    Jul 11, 2023 at 18:02
  • No. Your version ungrammatically mixes Present Perfect (I have been) with Past (would), which should be will. Jul 11, 2023 at 18:03
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    @stangdon - But the song is about a hypothetical future. By the OP's logic, it should be "Will you lock the door?" - but pop song lyrics don't have to be logical. Jul 11, 2023 at 18:04
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    I don't think it's a hypothetical future - it's "timeless", which imho is why it's would. A hypothetical future would be something like If I go shopping tomorrow, will you come with me? - which could also use would, but the actual song lyric wouldn't work with will because the "timing" is different. Just because other "conditionals" in the song are definitely future (the singer at the time wasn't yet 64, but he's well past that age now! :) doesn't mean this particular line has that attribute. Other lines include will you still love me? Jul 11, 2023 at 18:08
  • ...I also think that the precise meaning of the specific line If I'd been out till quarter to three is ambiguous until we see the context of the following line. Which could have been Would you have locked the door? Jul 11, 2023 at 18:17

1 Answer 1


If (I were to come home late, and prior to this) I had been out till quarter to three, would you lock the door?

"Had been" is licensed by the implied moment between being out and the door being locked.

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