"When we were younger, I would have done anything to be with her."

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"When we were younger, I would have done anything to be with her."

 

I saw this sentence and I was wondering if this is okay to use or when should be if or when can be used for conditionals? And then what is the difference between when and if in meaning?

 

Thank you so much as usual and have a good day.

asked Nov 13 '13 at 13:02 Hans Contributor

1 answer


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This sounds like a very good example of a syntactically incomplete conditional that doesn't need any further contextualisation for the basic message to be understood.  

 

When I was young, I would have done anything for her (if she had asked me to/if the need had arisen). 

 

Another example of a syntactically incomplete conditionals is when a parent says to a child:

 

I wouldn't do that ! (if I were you)

 

For anyone who is interested in a very thorough technical analysis of conditionals, have a look at:Conditionals: A Comprehensive Empirical Analysis

By Renaat Declerck, Susan Reed.

 

It's available on Google Books.  

link comment answered Nov 16 '13 at 15:04 Paul Henderson Contributor

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