[TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

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osroot
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[TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby osroot » Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:41 pm UTC

I like the current TBBT-episode, especially the scene where they argue about Back to the Future and the correct tenses to use.
youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxadpNqVgL8

I'm no native speaker and it is kind of (too) fast for me to follow the details they use at two or three points.
Altough there isn't really an official tense for those purposes (or is there?), I'd like to know if their approach is "correct" - i.e. fits your feeling for language.

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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby chridd » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:13 am UTC

osroot wrote:Altough there isn't really an official tense for those purposes (or is there?), I'd like to know if their approach is "correct" - i.e. fits your feeling for language.
I'd say, no, it's not correct.
For one thing, at least in my idiolect, auxiliary verbs (like "will" and "have", as used there) have to be in the right order: "had will have" can't be correct, because "will" has to go at the beginning; "had have had" can't be correct, because multiple have's can't be right next to each other (at least, if they're all auxiliaries forming the perfect aspect; if that sentence had been correct, then the second have would have had to have had one of have's other meanings).

It looks like the Big Bang Theory characters start out using the present tense, then switch to the past right before they're corrected; I'd say the correct tense to use there would probably be the simple present, for consistency. If I were talking about this, I might just use the simple past for everything.
http://qntm.org/streetmentioner talks about this issue, but it seems to be mainly about how the time travellers and those around them should use tense, not about how people outside the story should use tense.
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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby mathmannix » Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:20 pm UTC

"He had have gone to the store" is a good sentence, though, isn't it? With three haves, the third one is the one with the different meaning (possession).
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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby chridd » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:24 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:"He had have gone to the store" is a good sentence, though, isn't it? With three haves, the third one is the one with the different meaning (possession).
Not in my idiolect. "He had to have gone to the store" and "He had had to go to the store" would both be grammatical, but two auxiliary verb "have"s in a row would not. Besides, the second "have" would have to be "had". ("He'd have gone to the store" would be okay, but that's "he would have gone to the store.")

What would "he had have gone to the store" mean, anyways?

(Searching for "had have" gives me https://www.englishforums.com/English/HadHave/czmpq/post.htm, where one of the comments suggests that it's used in British English, so it might be dialect-dependent. Then again, I'm pretty sure everyone in The Big Bang Theory uses American English.)
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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby Joeldi » Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:41 pm UTC

If I had have known, I would have done XYZ.

As an Australian, I wouldn't say "I had have",
but I WOULD definitely say "if I had've known" or even more likely "If I'd've known."

If only I'd've I had have gone to the shops an hour earlier, I'd've I would have been able to save him.
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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby Derek » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:06 am UTC

Joeldi wrote:
If only I'd've I had have gone to the shops an hour earlier, I'd've I would have been able to save him.

Are you sure the first contraction isn't also "I would have" here? Because expanding to "I would have" in both places makes this sentence both clear and grammatical, whereas I cannot think of an interpretation of "I had have" in this example that is not identical to "I would have".

EDIT: Wiktionary does list "had've" though, so I guess it does exist.

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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby Joeldi » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:08 am UTC

Derek wrote:
Joeldi wrote:
If only I'd've I had have gone to the shops an hour earlier, I'd've I would have been able to save him.

Are you sure the first contraction isn't also "I would have" here? Because expanding to "I would have" in both places makes this sentence both clear and grammatical, whereas I cannot think of an interpretation of "I had have" in this example that is not identical to "I would have".

EDIT: Wiktionary does list "had've" though, so I guess it does exist.


No, "would have" definitely does not work for me in that position.
I already have a hate thread. Necromancy > redundancy here, so post there.

roc314 wrote:America is a police state that communicates in txt speak...

"i hav teh dissentors brb""¡This cheese is burning me! u pwnd them bff""thx ur cool 2"

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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby Derek » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:11 pm UTC

Joeldi wrote:No, "would have" definitely does not work for me in that position.

Can you show me an example of how the two would contrast?

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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby Joeldi » Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:02 am UTC

Well, sloshing some sentences around my, head, it seems like "had have" is always conditional (comes after "if") and "would have" is consequential.

"If we had have given you more time, you would have been able to finish"
And also works in reverse
"You would have been able to finish if we had have given you more time"
And negated
"If I hadn't've thought to come get you, you wouldn't've gotten out of the area in time."
I already have a hate thread. Necromancy > redundancy here, so post there.

roc314 wrote:America is a police state that communicates in txt speak...

"i hav teh dissentors brb""¡This cheese is burning me! u pwnd them bff""thx ur cool 2"

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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby mathmannix » Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:12 pm UTC

chridd wrote:What would "he had have gone to the store" mean, anyways?


For one possible usage, if someone says "if he had've gone to the store", another person may respond (in order to clarify that this is not speaking hypothetically, but something that actually happened) "He had've gone to the store."

As a usage note, a lot of Americans think they are saying (and therefore sometimes write) "if I had of done such-and-such" when they are actually (meant to be) saying "if I had've done such-and-such." I don't know if this is exclusive to America, though.
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Re: [TBBT S08E05] or: back to the future TENSES

Postby Aiwendil » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:35 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
chridd wrote:What would "he had have gone to the store" mean, anyways?


For one possible usage, if someone says "if he had've gone to the store", another person may respond (in order to clarify that this is not speaking hypothetically, but something that actually happened) "He had've gone to the store."

As a usage note, a lot of Americans think they are saying (and therefore sometimes write) "if I had of done such-and-such" when they are actually (meant to be) saying "if I had've done such-and-such." I don't know if this is exclusive to America, though.


In my idiolect, none of those examples are grammatical. I would say "if he had gone to the store", "if I had done such-and-such", and so on.

Edit: "If he would have gone to the store" could be grammatically correct for me in certain situations. E.g. "He would have gone to the store if such-and-such happened." "Well, if he would have gone to the store if such-and-such happened, then such-and-such must not have happened, because he didn't go to the store." But for me, it's only valid as a marker of the consequent, not of the antecedent.


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