Can you explain this conversation? Can you explain what might have led to it? Or what might have happened before the exams by the speakers?

assume that A and B are two persons talking with each other

A: Had you studied much harder?

B: Yes, I had studied much harder.

A: If you had studied much harder .. you must have passed your exam!

  • 4
    Short answer: No. It should be: Had you studied much harder you might have passed your exam. Or: Had you studied much harder you would have passed your exam. But not "must".
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 13:16
  • @J.R. Do you consider the conversation between A and B which I have mentioned in the question grammatically correct?
    – user37421
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 13:33
  • Yes, that can make sense – but that's not what you originally asked.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 14:02
  • @J.R. Thanks! that what I was asking about, I wanted a comparison from this point of view of the past perfect tense And what does "had you studied harder" mean in this〝 partially〞 correct sentence in comparison with the other sentence ..
    – user37421
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 14:15
  • 2
    'Harder' implies a comparison to something. We don't know what without context. From this conversation, the most reasonable context I can come up with is that they studied harder than someone else who passed the exam, and therefore must have passed it themselves.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Jun 4, 2015 at 3:14

1 Answer 1


I feel this conversation arose while two people were discussing their test performance on the most recent test in comparison to a previous test. Person A is asking person B whether he/she put more effort into studying this time around. When Person B says he/she did, Person A responds with "...then you must have passed the exam".

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