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(Addressing a person who's not sure whether they have paid their fees - real past):

  • A. If you have paid the fees, they have activated your account.
  • B. If you have paid the fees, they would have activated your account.

Is B an acceptable usage to indicate speculativeness in the main clause?

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    No, for a past time meaning, it should be "If you had paid the fees, they would have activated your account". Or for a present time meaning "If you have paid the fees, they will have activated your account". – BillJ Jan 9 '18 at 8:22
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    If you had paid the fees, they would have activated your account by now. – sardi kuka Jan 9 '18 at 8:39
  • We're talking about REAL PAST. We don't know that the fees have been paid, and we're not assuming something contrary to fact and there's no fact established so we can assume contrary to it. Suggesting using the past perfect form is plain wrong. I have made this point clear in the example context and I have labeled it clearly as 'real past'. – BazAU Jan 12 '18 at 12:31
  • No, B is quite ungrammatical. It cannot be parsed in any meaningful way. The most natural way to add a hint of speculativeness to a conditional presumed not to be irrealis/counterfactual would be to use a future perfect construction in the main clause: “If you have paid the fees, they will have activated your account”. The implication there is “assuming that you have indeed paid, if you go and check your account, you will find that it has been activated”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 10 '18 at 10:29
  • "Domesday Book (1086) says Edgar held the manors of Barkway and Hormead in Hertfordshire. If he went there he would have known Little Hormead Church, parts of whose nave date from the 11th century." – BazAU Mar 12 '18 at 10:37
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Neither of them is correct. The right one is "If you had paid the fees, they would have activated your account by now."

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    Your answer is plain wrong because it means that we know or think that the fees have not been paid, and we are hypothesizing about the opposite situation: what would have happened if you had paid the fees. The meaning of the example is completely different: it says we DON'T KNOW whether the fees have been paid or not. – BazAU Jan 12 '18 at 12:39
  • If the fees are already paid, and we know that, then why do we need 'if'? Shouldn't it simply say 'as the fees are already paid?' Or 'as the fees have already been paid? Or you can use 'when' as in 'when you paid the fees, your account will have already been activated'. Or 'your account was activated when you paid your fees'. Your sentences are quite unclear as is your question, and berating others for being 'plain wrong' in the light of your own lack of clarity seems a bit... off. – Jelila Jan 13 '18 at 11:53
  • This is quite obviously incorrect, as made perfectly clear in the question itself. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 10 '18 at 10:24

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