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If you knew the trouble I've had with this one.

I'd like to know whether the sentence is the conditional sentence type II. The sentence is taken from RD MAY 2013.

2 Answers 2

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Despite the If at the beginning, this is not a true conditional construction. (In fact it's not even a formal sentence, since there's no apodosis [consequence or then clause], just a subordinate protasis [condition or if clause].) It's a sort of rhetorical conditional, like a rhetorical question. On the surface, it leaves the hearer to infer the consequence from the context:

If you knew the trouble I've had with this one [you'd feel sorry for me].
If you knew the trouble I've had with this one [you'd regret asking].
If you knew the trouble I've had with this one [you'd stop badgering me].

And in fact it may imply no particular consequence. It amounts to an 'optative subjunctive'—a clause employing syntactic and morphological forms implying a wish or desire. It's equivalent to

I wish you to understand how much trouble I've had with this one.

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Conditional sentence type 2 is eg If I had the necessary money I would buy a house. You have a main clause (I would buy) and a subclause (If I had, past subjunctive for unreal condition).

In your example there is no main clause. You have only a relative clause added to "trouble": the trouble (that) I've had with this one. The sentence is a kind of exclamation. Of course, the sentence is not complete as StoneyB says. You could add "then you would judge differently". With this clause added you get a conditional sentence of type 2.

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  • I think it is not a relative clause. According to you, the verb should be "had had".
    – thein lwin
    Mar 23, 2016 at 15:55

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