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This question is an exact duplicate of:

I came across this sentence on stack exchange and it confused me.

'If you had called me 10 minutes ago, I would have been sleeping.' on

What is the structure of the above sentence called?

Why 'If you had called me? Can it be replaced with 'If you called me?'

I thought 'had called' is past perfect which means it happened before another event in the past. But in this case, it sounds like 'sleeping' came before.

marked as duplicate by Davo, David, Xanne, Kate Gregory, MikeRoger Oct 23 '17 at 9:22

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

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This is third conditional.

We make the third conditional by using the past perfect after 'if' and then 'would have' and the past participle in the second part of the sentence:

It talks about the past. It's used to describe a situation that didn't happen, and to imagine the result of this situation.

1)If she had studied, she would have passed the exam (but, really we know she didn't study and so she didn't pass)

2)If I hadn't eaten so much, I wouldn't have felt sick (but I did eat a lot, and so I did feel sick).

3)If you had called me 10 minutes ago, I would have been sleeping.' (that means you didn't call me 10 minutes ago but if you had done that, I wouldn't have answered because I was asleep)

  • Thank you so much. I've always been confused with all these English tenses and how to apply them. – Ignorant_AP Sep 25 '17 at 6:17

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