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It's another time when I come across this sort of conditional and can't understand why there is a past simple in the "if" clause. Shouldn't there be a past perfect (hadn't been killed)? Here's the sentence:

"But if the family wasn't killed, maybe he'd never have left."

Star Wars context: As probably most of you know, Luke's "parents" were killed by stormtroopers in A New Hope. In one of the recent Darth Vader comics, he goes to a place where that happened.

Here is the picture:

The dialogue in this scene goes like this:

Panel 1: I guess it's an irony. If the boy was here when the jackboot came down, the Empire would still have a Death Star...

Panel 2: ...But if the family wasn't killed, maybe he'd never have left.

Panel 3: Revenge is one hell of a motivator.

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    Not every instance of if it wasn't true "should" be if it weren't true, but I expect most of them are potential subjunctives. And as that chart illustrates, the subjunctive continues to decline, being replaced by simple past (as in If I was you...). I certainly have no problem with the cited usage, whatever die-hard pedants say. – FumbleFingers Apr 18 '17 at 16:56
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    Because that is how actual users of English speak, as compared to those numbered conditionals which are taught in ESL/EFL settings (and nowhere else). Those things in ESL/EFL textbooks are just sample patterns, that learners can use–but they don't cover the range of what native speakers actually say. – AmE speaker Apr 18 '17 at 18:48
  • @Clare ok I got it. "Hadn't been killed" would've been very text bookish and not common. Is she referring to the past then? – Nick Apr 18 '17 at 18:57
  • The family was killed in the past, so what else could she be talking about... The textbook way to say this would be to say if the family had not been killed... (but they were) – AmE speaker Apr 19 '17 at 19:48
  • @Clare I asked about the past because "if clause" in 2nd conditional is with past simple. For example 'if I were you I wouldn't do that". 2nd might refer to the future or the present. The girl in the comic uses past simple in the "if clause" as if she was using 2nd conditional even though she's referring to the past. That's why I posted this topic – Nick Apr 19 '17 at 20:01

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