2

Which of the three variants is correct and why are the other two not?

  1. If you say that something should have happened, you mean that it had not happened, but that you wish it had.
  2. If you say that something should have happened, you mean that it did not happen, but that you wish it had.
  3. If you say that something should have happened, you mean that it did not happen, but that you wish it did.
  • It depends on what you mean by "if you say": If you are saying.... or when one says. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Feb 27 '15 at 15:44
  • don't see any relevance to my question – Michael Login Feb 27 '15 at 16:05
  • For what it's worth, as a native english speaker I can't really see a non-trivial difference between the three sentences. – MCT Feb 27 '15 at 16:54
  • No, it's impossible - at least one of the three is incorrect and maybe two of them. – Michael Login Feb 27 '15 at 17:21
  • Well, "say" is present tense, so "you mean it had not happened" (past perfect) is wrong , if we assume that "say" implies that we're talking NOW. Do you see any relevance now, MvLog? "say" needs "has not happened". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Feb 27 '15 at 22:40
1

I think that both 2 and 3 are correct, but subtly different.

In 1 you are saying that at some point in the past it had not happened, which implies that it has happened since, and I don't think that quite fits into the context of the rest of the sentence.

Both 2 and 3 suggest that something hasn't happened as yet, with 2 saying that there was a wish for it to happen, and 3 suggesting that there is still a wish that it will happen. And so 2 implies a past hope, and 3 implies a present one.

  • No, I'm sorry, but your analysis is wrong. The 2nd is definitely correct and it is about my present wish. Regarding 1st & 3rd - I still have no satisfactory answer. – Michael Login Feb 27 '15 at 19:41
0

It is the second because the other two are wrong. I don't think I'll give you that much detail in this answer since I'm not sure you put that much effort into thinking things through yourself. In the interests of a decent answer, however, you will want to research 3rd conditionals, that is the relationship between tenses when using hindsight.

Something like this:

If + past perfect, perfect conditional.

Searching this site will yield some good information, and failing that you can always start here (English Club - 3rd Conditionals).

EDIT: Parsing the following using rule 2:

I didn't see the goal.

I should have seen the goal, but I wish that I had.

That's correct. The relationship between the tenses is correct since the opportunity to "see the goal" has gone.

Parsing the same example using rule 3:

I should have seen the goal, but I wish that I did.

Wrong. We can't reflect on an "impossibility" using past simple.

  • You're right - the 2nd is correct. But it's pity that you do not want to elaborate on the two rest, it would be interesting. 'Cause, imho, you are sending me in the wrong direction, implying 3rd Conditionals. Let me rephrase my question ( the 2nd one), getting rid of any conditionals. "Something should have happened" means that something did not happen, but you wish it had. No conditionals, but the sense is pretty much the same, isn't it? And the problem had\did is intact as it was in the previous version. – Michael Login Feb 27 '15 at 19:19
  • Well the other answer is incorrect, and this question basically boils down to 3rd conditionals! Refer to my edit. – JMB Feb 27 '15 at 19:34

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