Girl: "I've made my decision, Father".

Her Father: "You've ruined so many prospects, Lucy".

Girl: "Hmm.Nothing but boys, following in their father's footsteps. I'd know my life before I had even lived it".

Is this sentence (I'd know my life before I had even lived it) past or imaginary present? If it is past then why aren't we saying "I knew my life before I had even lived it"? What does "would" mean here?

Here is a link http://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/movie_script.php?movie=savannah

It's from a movie 'Savannah'

  • Can I get an elaborate answer because I still can't know for sure whether it is present or past hypothetical – user73373 Sep 5 '14 at 12:32
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    @snailboat Okay, I added more context and made it clear who is saying what here which is not clear from the script on the website – user73373 Sep 5 '14 at 12:56
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    I have answered below, it is present conditional similar to "If I had got that promotion I wanted [in the past] I would be [present] the boss by now" - "If I had accepted one of those prospects [in the past] I would know [present] how the rest of my life would be mapped out" – Marv Mills Sep 6 '14 at 10:50

This is a conditional tense. I am not a grammar expert but I have seen this particular example called "present unreal conditional". However to understand why you have to realise that the condition is implied and is not actually present in the text:

"[If I had married one of them] I'd know my life before I had even lived it"

  • More pedantically, conditional mood, present tense. – 200_success Sep 5 '14 at 8:13

This doesn't sound correct to me. First, grammatically the tenses should be changed to

I'd have known my life before I had even lived it.

Then, the meaning, as I imagine it (I didn't find the line in the whole script), would be better conveyed by:

I was to know how my life unfolded before I had even lived it.

If this is indeed what is meant then it depicts a past situation that never was, so it is a hypothetical past. It can be followed by:

How did they even expect this from me?

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