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Is the sentence given below grammatically correct?

Had you born two days later and it would have been difficult to celebrate your birthdays.

Is it the only option to use the third conditional to express such a situation?

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As Bill reports, if one half of the conditional is in a perfect construction, than the other half must be also; otherwise it won’t balance. I’m not sure what your first language is — perhaps something that isn’t Western European? — but the ones I know all also work this way. –  tchrist Mar 28 '13 at 12:20
    
@tchrist Yes, you're right, my native languages have similar tense constructions. They are Eastern European:) –  brick Mar 28 '13 at 12:28
    
Is it true that "3rd conditional" is a term used only in ESL so that most users of this forum won't know what it means? –  GEdgar Mar 28 '13 at 13:57
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Yes, it's true. Someone has been creative about teaching English without checking English grammar. This is not the way English works, and these websites are full of incorrect nonsense about English. Like where one must use "future tense". Hopeless. Useless. –  John Lawler Mar 28 '13 at 14:51
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closed as not a real question by MετάEd, tchrist, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Robusto, Kristina Lopez Mar 28 '13 at 17:35

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2 Answers

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Your sentence is grammatically incorrect. It should be:

Had you been born two days later, it would have been difficult to celebrate your birthday.

You can also say it this way:

If you had been born two days later, it would have been difficult to celebrate your birthday.

Illiterate native speakers will say things like:

If you would {have / of} been born two days later, it would have been difficult to celebrate your birthday.

But that's ungrammatical

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By asking about alternatives I meant using the 2nd conditional. But I think it's wrong. Thank you for your examples! –  brick Mar 28 '13 at 12:19
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@brick: He means that it's easier to teach conditionals when it's broken down into categories: first conditional, second conditional, etc. But it's not something that native English speakers learn. I only know it from teaching English to non-native speakers. –  Lydia Arachne Mar 28 '13 at 12:26
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Whoa, whoa, whoa there. Ungrammatical-native- speaker? A discouraged non-standard dialect maybe, but it's a -different- grammar, not ungrammatical. –  Mitch Mar 28 '13 at 13:38
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@Mitch: It's ungrammatical in standard English (whatever that may be). Do you say things like "If I would of been born earlier,..."? Claiming that such solecisms are examples of a "different grammar" is merely the misguided politics of inclusion. We aren't talking about AAVE here, which is a recognized rule-governed dialect of English. Being a native speaker doesn't confer linguistic infallibility, only the ability to form natural sentences & understand the basics of the grammar without knowing how to discuss it. Illiteracy & ignorance exist. Alternative grammaticality is a bad political joke. –  user21497 Mar 28 '13 at 13:50
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@Mitch: That's the trouble with politics (another form of religion): people hear what they want to hear. Read my comment again: "AAVE ... is a recognized rule-governed dialect of English". "Alternative grammaticality" is using "I would of" & thinking that it's anything but an illiterate & ignorant solecism, regardless of the audience. But if you hang out with the illiterate & ignorant, den yuh gotta jaw lak dem guyz doo. EFL students know that native speakers of their own language also make speaking & writing errors. I would never use "If I would of...". Each to its own. –  user21497 Mar 28 '13 at 16:01
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The third conditional is for things in the past that cannot be changed, so you are correct to use it in this case. This is the only type of conditional statement that deals with the past, so you are correct to choose it. There is no other way to express your example sentence without changing some of the meaning.

I would correct two small things in the sentence you gave. First, the word 'and' is not necessary in conditional statements to link the two parts of the sentence. Second, a comma should be inserted between the condition and the result.

So the corrected sentence looks like this:

Had you been born two days later, it would have been difficult to celebrate your birthdays.

Another minor issue is that it would sound more natural to say the singular 'birthday', rather than 'birthdays', although it's not incorrect to use the plural.

This page describes the different types of conditional statements.

This page goes into more detail about the third conditional and its structure.

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