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There are two sentences I'm confused about:

  1. If I bought that book, it would mean I had something to give you for your birthday.

Will it better if I use "have" instead of "had"?

And the main verb, "Buy," is in the past tense, so shouldn't all the tenses that follow be in the past tense as well?

  1. I remember how you were talking about how don't like change.

Now, I know that "Don't" isn't wrong here, but would "didn't" be a better option to go with? If so, then why is that?

And I posted similar questions before, but my doubts haven't been cleared yet. Please don't remove it.

Any help will be greatly appreciated. :)

  • Your question is still not clear, at least to me! – Maulik V Dec 10 '15 at 5:24
  • If I bought the book I would have something to give you on your birthday. – V.V. Dec 10 '15 at 5:34
  • I remember you were talking that you don't (didn't or wouldn't )like change. – V.V. Dec 10 '15 at 5:40
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is two questions being asked in one. Please divide your question into two separate questions. – Catija Jun 7 '16 at 15:59
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Bought has an if with it, so it's a conditional. You can relate past events conditionally to present events, or other past events.

If I bought that book, it would mean I had [ implies you no longer have ] something to give you for your birthday.

Either it's not the person's birthday yet, or you haven't met this person for their birthday yet. You probably still have a chance to get a gift.

If I bought that book, it would mean I have something to give you for your birthday.

Either you are right in front of this person now expressing a regret that you have no gift, or you do not believe you can get a gift before you met this person for their birthday party.


I remember how you were talking about how you don't like change.

You believe the person you are talking to still does not like change now. I think this is correct mostly because you are saying "talking about" which makes it clear to the listener/reader that what follows is something that was said, not something that happened.

I remember how you were talking about how you didn't like change.

You are referencing a past time where the person you are talking to did not like change. You are leaving open the possibility that they may like change now.

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You should use 'have' for the first sentence.

If I bought a book, it would mean I have something to give you for your birthday.

And for your second sentence, the correct version would be

I remember how you were talking about how didn't like change.

I used 'didn't' because you 'remember' something. To remember something means that it has happened before and you recall it from your memory. This is in the past, so your 'do' should be 'did'.

Your question is very unclear. I know you have a genuine doubt, but try to reproduce your doubt in an understandable way. You could get the help of a native speaker or an instructor. If you prefer ELL, you could get some help to post this question clearly. That way we can help you. The only way to clear your doubt is to understand it well. Otherwise, we may say something that wouldn't be of much help to you. All right ?

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In your first sentence

If I bought that book, it would mean I had something to give you for your birthday.

You are showing the ordering of two actions

1) buying the book (earlier)
2) giving the book (later)

so you need something at a time (giving) and something before that (buying)

If I bought that book, it would mean I would have something to give you
simple past + present

If I had bought that book, it would mean I would have had something to give you
past perfect + present perfect

In your second example

I remember how you were talking about how (you) don't like change.

the first part of the sentence anchors the time in the past when the listener was speaking.

If you use don't it means the listener did not like and continues to not like change.

If you use didn't it means the listener did not like change back then and may or may not continue to dislike change depending on the context that follows

I remember how you were talking about how you don't like change.
I remember how you were talking about how you didn't like change.

you need to add the second you, otherwise it is incorrect

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