0
  1. Just to save your time, I know the difference between type 2 and 3, but I got confused about the following statement.

-If you went to bed earlier, you would not be so tired.

I was thinking that, since the speaker probably means something unreal in the past (going to bed earlier), then we should use type 3:

-If you had gone to bed earlier, you wouldn't be so tired.

Or, is it so that type 2 and 3 can be used sometimes interchangeably? If so, I still suspect there's a slight difference in the meaning; in this case, what's the difference?

  1. Can we say ''If you had gone to bed earlier, you wouldn't have been so tired'' instead of ''If you had gone to bed earlier, you wouldn't be so tired''?
2

"If you went to bed earlier, you would not be so tired." to me means that someone is consistently going to bed too late and is now (or usually) tired because of it.

I would interpret "If you had gone to bed earlier, you wouldn't be so tired." as more of a one-time occasion where someone stayed up too late and is now tired as a result.

On your second question, "If you had gone to bed earlier, you wouldn't have been so tired" sounds better to me.

  • I agree with the first sentence of this answer but not with the second. "If you would go to bed earlier, you would not be so tired." is not idiomatic English in any version of English I know. The original version is perfectly normal and correct. If you really want a paraphrase you could say, "If you were to go to bed earlier, you would not be so tired." however that is unnecessarily complicated. – chasly from UK Nov 4 '15 at 12:03
  • 2
    The "would...would" construction sounds fine to me (AmE, west coast). I wouldn't say it's common, but it seems ok grammatically. – Brian Hitchcock Nov 4 '15 at 13:53
  • @chaslyfromUK thanks for the other alternative. And I guess the first one is fine then. But I don't think my version is incorrect. I'm not a native speaker but I did recently take an advanced grammar course for teaching English so if I'm wrong then I'd love to know for sure. – Sebastiaan van den Broek Nov 5 '15 at 9:31
  • @BrianHitchcock - It's okay in grammatical terms but it isn't idiomatic where I come from. It's a real mouthful. For example, I can imagine saying, "I'd be grateful if you'd do that." (I would be grateful if you would do that.) However the construction, "If you would go to bed earlier, you would not be so tired." seems unnaturally long. It's so much easier and more natural (for me at any rate) to say, "*If you went to bed earlier, you wouldn't be so tired." Maybe its regional I don't know. – chasly from UK Nov 5 '15 at 9:57
  • 1
    @chasly: For me (American), If you would go to bed earlier means something like If you were willing to go to bed earlier or if you had the willpower to go to be earlier. So it doesn't quite mean the same thing as If you went to bed earlier (although in this case, there's not really much difference). – Peter Shor Nov 5 '15 at 10:39
-2

1. You say:

-If you went to bed earlier, you would not be so tired.

I was thinking that, since the speaker probably means something unreal in the past (going to bed earlier), then we should use type 3:

-If you had gone to bed earlier, you wouldn't be so tired.

However you are wrong. Paradoxically it doesn't refer to the past. This is a case of the past subjunctive. I quote:

The past subjunctive is used in subordinate clauses and refers to unreal or improbable present or future situations: Grammaring: A guide to English grammar

1a. You suggest substituting this: - If you had gone to bed earlier, you wouldn't be so tired.

However that has an entirely different meaning. As Sebastiaan van den Bro correctly said, that refers to "a one-time occasion where someone stayed up too late and is now tired as a result."

2. Can we say ''If you had gone to bed earlier, you wouldn't have been so tired'' instead of ''If you had gone to bed earlier, you wouldn't be so tired''?

Well that is a completely different question and has nothing at all in common with your first. The only difference there is that you have used present perfect instead of bare infinitive, i.e. 'have been so tired' in place of 'be so tired'

It is a perfectly valid question in its own right but I suggest you submit it separately as it will only cause confusion if addressed here.

I hope that helps.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.