Is using past perfect in if clause correct in an imaginary situation?

English Language Learners Asked by R. Javid on January 6, 2022

I heard this sentence in a TV show:

"If I would have gone back in time and did everything from the beginning, I would have given…".

Based on my knowledge when something is imaginary (like going back in time), I should use simple past in the if sentence. So, shouldn’t that sentence be like this?

If I went back in time and did everything from the beginning, I would have given…

Is there a difference between the meaning of the two sentences?

One Answer

When talking about something that didn’t happen in the past, many English speakers use the conditional perfect (if I would have done) when they should be using the past perfect (if I had done). The error is often, but not exclusively, perpetrated by US speakers.

See here

English mistakes - if I would have

Answered by Michael Harvey on January 6, 2022

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