I need help phrasing the last part of this conditional sentence (assume I can't change the first conditional statement):

If I died tomorrow, I would have wanted to go skydiving.


If I died tomorrow, I wanted to go skydiving.

  • 2
    Do you mean "If I died tomorrow, I would want to have gone skydiving"? That's the best I can do, and I still don't like it that much. – Peter Shor Apr 25 '13 at 16:55
  • Perhaps "If I died tomorrow I would regret never having gone skydiving?" – StoneyB Apr 25 '13 at 18:50
  • Technically speaking, I think it should be If I died tomorrow, I would have wanted to have gone skydiving [before I died]. Or even more tortuously, If I were to die tomorrow... But we're stretching both English tenses and logical postulates to breaking point here. – FumbleFingers Apr 26 '13 at 3:47

I think your basic problem here is that "died" is past tense, but "tomorrow" clearly indicates we are talking about the future. Despite your protestations, you really need to fix that part of the sentence.

OOC, what language is this translated from and, for extra credit, do you know the technical verb form it was using?

My guess is you really want some kind of future subjunctive clause, which in English oddly uses the past subjunctive. "If I were to die tomorrow".

How you complete this depends on what exactly you want to say. If you mean that you'd prefer the method of death to be skydiving, your form in the first example would work (although that would be using "go" as a euphamisim for "die", but that's common).

If instead you want to say that skydiving is an activity you'd regret not having done, then it would be past subjunctive as well: "I would have wanted to have gone skydiving".

In both cases, I'd highly suggest rephrasing the whole thing in a simpler manner though. The first case could be, "When I die, I want to die skydiving.". The second would be "I want to go skydiving before I die."

  • I pretty much agree with all this, but the fact of the matter is people often (particularly in speech) use constructions like if I came tomorrow. Future subjunctive has been in slow decline for a long time, and whilst I don't necessarily wish to see it dead and buried, I don't mind seeing it sidelined in favour of "past" (actually, just "non-present") tense in most cases. – FumbleFingers Apr 26 '13 at 3:56
If I died tomorrow, I would have wanted to go skydiving.

Makes way more sense and is grammatically correct (I think?) compared to the second example which is just plain wrong. It still sounds kind of awkward though. I can't think of a great way to phrase it without changing the statement before the comma.

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