If there were time travel, we would have been aware of it.

1

If there were time travel, we would have been aware of it.

 

Is this structure possible? I saw it in a movie but it seems like there is some mistake in the sentence.

 

But I know that the structure of "If he had taken the doctor's advice, he might still be alive." is okay to use, or I think that "If there had been time travel, we would have been aware of it." is okay to use.

 

 

So what do you experts think about the first example? Does it make sense? Thank you so much as usual and have a good day.

 

Cf. (This is the dialogue)

 

A: There is no such thing as time travel.


B: Well, there is.

 

A: No, there is not. Because if there were, a class-one senior agent such as myself would have been aware of it, wouldn't he have?

edited Oct 09 '12 at 05:07 Hans Contributor

4 answers


3

As far as I know, it is okay to transition tense in a sentence such as these:  

"If there were time travel, we w0uld be aware of it."

"If he had taken the doctor's advice, he would still be alive."

These are also correct.

link answered Oct 09 '12 at 04:28 mysticete Contributor

So you mean "If there were time travel, we would have been aware of it." is wrong to you? Thank you so much.

HansOct 09 '12 at 05:06

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3

Just to clear up the confusion:

 

No—If there were time travel, we would have been aware of it.

Yes—If there had been time travel, we would have been aware of it.

Yes—If there were time travel, we would be aware of it.

 

Yes—If he had taken the doctor's advice, he might still be alive.

link comment answered Oct 09 '12 at 06:25 Peter Guess Expert
2

Mysticete is correct. I don't know why someone downvoted that reply. Your sentences are fine.  Here is a link to some information about using "were" in conditional sentences:  http://handbook.grammarly.com/handbook/sentences/conditional-sentences/6/conditional-sentences-was-instead-of-were-in-the-u/

link comment answered Oct 09 '12 at 05:12 Patty T Grammarly Fellow
2

I agree with Patty and Mysticete. Your sentences are fine.

 

As an aside, it is a common science fiction trope that language does not have enough tenses to deal with time travel. How do you describe a future event that occurs in the narrator's past? Or an event in the past that has yet to occur? 

 

Edit: After further consideration (I slept on it), I don't think -- If there were time travel, we would have been aware of it -- is okay in the sense of reality-based grammar.  It should be "we would be aware". However, from the position of the science fiction trope, it makes the point that present and past are malleable. So artistically, I agree with its use.

link edited Oct 09 '12 at 14:46 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Thank you all of them as usual and Jeff, so you mean it can be possible to say "If there were time travel, we would have been aware of it." in the movie?

HansOct 09 '12 at 05:38

I think you can say "If there were time travel, ..."

Jeff PribylOct 09 '12 at 06:07

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