Could I know what's the difference between these sentences?

If he hadn't believed in that, none of it would have happened.
If he didn't believe in that none of it would have happened.

I presume it's in the past and he did believe in something and therefore something happened.

But does didn't make a difference?

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    The first refers to a belief someone held at a particular time in the past, which affected subsequent events. "If he didn't believe..." refers to a belief he still has, and which may have affected past or present events. – Kate Bunting May 12 at 19:25

The use of “hadn’t” places it in the subjunctive (for those of us old enough to have been taught that), implying that there is a possibility that he could have failed to believe or that maybe he really didn’t believe but only pretended to. “Didn’t” adds to the confusion because you want to line it up with the “had” and make them serve a similar purpose. Actually, “didn’t” is present only because of the negation. In English, you cannot say “He believed not”; you have to say “He didn’t believe”. Consider the case if the two sentences were “If he had believed in that, none of it would have happened” and “If he believed in that, none of it would have happened”. Notice in this case that it is clear that there is some doubt as to whether or not he believed in the first sentence, but not in the second. In both cases, the second sentence also fails to make really good sense (either with or without the negation) because the if clause wants to be subjunctive and imply “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t, but let’s use what happened to help us figure out which is true”.

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    Welcome to ELU. Please take a moment to tour the site and familiarize yourself with with format. Your answer shows your understanding, and I hope you will apply this to deeper questions. – livresque May 13 at 2:59
  • And welcome here! – Conrado May 13 at 3:00

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