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Is the following sentence gramatically correct?

If neither of us is wrong, then the discussion wouldn't have been necessary in the first place.

I'm trying to use "is" instead of "had been", because I'd like to refer to the present. However, I haven't been able to find anything online that would justify this.

Is there a grammatical explanation why it is correct/incorrect?

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    'If neither of us is wrong, then the discussion wasn't necessary in the first place.' – Edwin Ashworth Aug 29 '17 at 9:20
  • If neither of us is wrong, then the discussion isn't necessary in the first place. if p.s. -> p.s. "If you heat Ice, it melts." – David Haim Aug 29 '17 at 9:25
  • @David Haim But here, 'then the discussion wouldn't have been necessary in the first place.' strongly implies that it has taken place. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 29 '17 at 9:32
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    If counterfactual (ie, you believe at least one of you is wrong): "If neither of us were wrong, [...] wouldn't have been necessary." If factual (=you believe neither of you is wrong): "If neither of us is wrong, it wasn't necessary." (Or maybe "shouldn't have been necessary") – SAH Aug 29 '17 at 23:23
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It all depends on the context. It all depends on what happen. Is it happening now? Did it happen in the past? Did it not happen in the past but you are thinking of what would have happen?

Conditional Present Real or Present Unreal Conditional (see info below)

That said and after readin the grammar below, your sentence:
If neither of us is wrong, then the discussion wouldn't have been necessary in the first place.

The grammar is not correct. You should either say:

  • If neither of us is wrong, then the discussion was not necessary in the first place.

  • If neither of us had been wrong, then the discussion was not necessary in the first place.

More grammar on conditionals

PRESENT REAL CONDITIONAL

Form

[If / When ... Simple Present ..., ... Simple Present ...]

[... Simple Present ... if / when ... Simple Present ...]

USE

The Present Real Conditional is used to talk about what you normally do in real-life situations.

Examples:

If I go to a friend's house for dinner, I usually take a bottle of wine or some flowers.

When I have a day off from work, I often go to the beach.

If the weather is nice, she walks to work.

Jerry helps me with my homework when he has time.

I read if there is nothing on TV.

IMPORTANT If / When

Both "if" and "when" are used in the Present Real Conditional.

Using "if" suggests that something happens less frequently. Using "when" suggests that something happens regularly. link

The other option is:

PRESENT UNREAL CONDITIONAL

Form

[If ... Simple Past ..., ... would + verb ...]

[... would + verb ... if ... Simple Past ...]

Use

The Present Unreal Conditional is used to talk about what you would generally do in imaginary situations.

Examples:

If I owned a car, I would drive to work. But I don't own a car.

She would travel around the world if she had more money. But she doesn't have much money.

I would read more if I didn't watch so much TV. Mary would move to Japan if she spoke Japanese.

EXCEPTION If I were ...

In the Present Unreal Conditional, the form "was" is not considered grammatically correct. In written English or in testing situations, you should always use "were." However, in everyday conversation, "was" is often used.link

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