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What is the difference between the following two:

I didn't know if this community existed

I didn't know if this community was here

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Would you be so kind as to edit your question to expand on what differences you find between "existed" and "was here"? –  Matt Эллен Mar 11 '12 at 13:26
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Compare "I didn't know the King of Spain existed" and "I didn't know the King of Spain was here". There's a difference. –  Peter Shor Mar 11 '12 at 13:34
    
@MattЭллен: Edited. –  Noah Mar 11 '12 at 13:39
    
"I didn't know the King of Spain existed/was here" is a different comparison from "I didn't know if this community existed/was here." The if changes everything. –  Robusto Mar 11 '12 at 14:29
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@Robusto: you're right, of course. I dropped the if without intending to; I think because I would use whether instead in these sentences. But compare "I didn't know if the King of Spain existed" and "I didn't know if the King of Spain was here". The existed/was here difference isn't affected by the if. –  Peter Shor Mar 11 '12 at 14:35

2 Answers 2

The first example is incorrect - you have your tenses mixed up. It should read:

I didn't know if this community existed.

Once that has been corrected, both mean broadly the same thing.

I would, however, have worded them slightly differently:

I didn't know this community existed.

I didn't know this community was here.

After your comments, however, the meaning can be very different:

The king of Spain was here

means that the king was in this place, but

The king of Spain existed

is confirming that there is a king of Spain.

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I didn't know if this community existed states that I was completely unaware of the fact that this community existed.

Whereas I didn't know if this community was here states that i was aware of the fact that this community existed, but i did not know that it was here.

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