This is an extract from text about restaurant of the future http://www.eater.com/2015/9/14/9310919/restaurant-of-the-future

I am confused about this sentence:

"You would be impressed had you not seen this shameless attempt to appeal to Generation Z’s eco-friendly sentiments a million times in similar restaurants"

Would someone please write this sentence in other words or explain the meaning.

  • Welcome to EL&U. You would be impressed if you had not seen this shameless attempt to appeal to Generation X. You can google *inversion of a subjunctive mood" and find more about it.
    – user140086
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 10:40

2 Answers 2


This sentence uses 'had you not seen'.

In general this will refer to an adjective that 'would' have or 'would not' have happened if you did not see something.

In this example it means you would have been impressed but because you've seen the same thing many times, you are not.

Essentially it adds a negative.

  • 1
    Refer to an adjective? No (what adjective?). Add a negative? Not really, apart from the fact that it contains a negative, so of course it adds that same negative. Just like “That car is not blue” also adds a negative. Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 16:17
  • Huh? I had to read this explanation three times before I understood what it was saying. Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 13:19

Had you not seen, in a subordinate clause, means precisely the same as if you had not seen. It is a construction which is rare in speech or informal writing, but common in formal writing.

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