Difference between Would have+ed VS Would have been +ing (in conditional)

I just cant understand a difference in these sentences

• If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have been sitting in the garden when he arrived (but I wasn't).
• If she hadn't got a job in London (but she did), she would have been working in Paris (but she wasn't).
• now what is the difference

• If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have sat in the garden when he arrived (but I wasn't).

• If she hadn't got a job in London (but she did), she would have worked in paris (but she wasn’t)

Comments

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭

    @hazzart
    The answer is complicated, so let's start with the most basic difficulty: the meaning and grammar of the verb sit.

    The phrase She sat can have two meanings:
    1. 'I sat down' — an ACT which lasted for just an instant.
    2. 'I was on a seat' — a STATE which lasted for some time.

    But we can't always use I sat for Meaning 2. We certainly can't when it's a fact in the background.
    If we mean 'I was on a seat in the garden' then we can't say
    I sat in the garden at the time_
    or
    I sat in the garden when he arrived
    We can only say
    I was sitting in the garden when he arrived
    or
    I was seated in the garden when he arrived.

    We can only use I sat with Meaning 1 'I sat down in the garden at the moment that he arrived'.

    For PAST PERFECT, it's the same. If we mean 'I had been on a seat' then we can only say
    I had been sitting in the garden when he arrived
    or
    I had been seated in the garden when he arrived.

    So for PAST CONDITIONAL, if we mean 'I would have been on a seat' then we can only say
    I would had been sitting in the garden when he arrived
    or
    I would had been seated in the garden when he arrived.

    Now the if-clause If the weather has been better is not like Meaning 1. It isn't an EVENT which would have lasted for an instant. It's a STATE which would have lasted for some time. So the two clauses must be about STATES. We can only say
    If the weather had been better, I would have been sitting in the garden or
    If the weather had been better, I would have been seated in the garden
    The two clauses together describe the hypothetical background to the ACT he arrived

    The meaning and grammar of the verb work is different.
    The clause She worked in Paris can describe
    1. 'She went to Paris and took up a job' — an ACT (which lasted for an instant) leading to a STATE which lasted for some time, in other words a STATE with a beginning
    2. 'Her job was in Paris' — a STATE with no sense of a beginning

    For Meaning 2 (no sense of beginning) we can use either She worked in Paris or She was working in Paris. The first suggests more permanence; the second often suggests something temporary.

    Again, the same applies to PAST PERFECT for meaning 2:
    She had worked in Paris suggesting a relatively permanent job
    She had been working in Paris suggesting a relatively temporary job

    And to PAST CONDITIONAL for meaning 2
    She would have worked in Paris suggesting a relatively permanent job
    She would have been working in Paris suggesting a relatively temporary job

    The choice disappears if you make it a background condition
    She would have been working in Paris when Macron was elected
    but not
    She would have worked in Paris when Macron was elected

    For Meaning 1 we use SIMPLE not PROGRESSIVE forms
    She worked in Paris 'She went to Paris and took up a job'
    She had worked in Paris 'She had gone to Paris and taken up a job'
    She would have worked in Paris 'She would have gone to Paris and taken up a job'

    So, correcting the sentences

    *_If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have been sitting in the garden when he arrived (but I wasn't)._ NO CHANGE. The condition is a STATE

    • If she hadn't got a job in London (but she had), she would have been working in Paris (but she wasn't) Both condition and result are STATES

    • If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have sat in the garden (but I didn't) ONLY POSSIBLE WITHOUT when he arrived . We can't say
    If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have sat in the garden (but I didn't) when he arrived

    • If she hadn't obtained a job in London (but she did), she would have worked in Paris (but she didn't) The condition is an EVENT and the result is an ACTY beginning a STATE
  • DavidCrosibie thanks a lot, you are amazing

  • @hazzart said:
    I just cant understand a difference in these sentences

    • If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have been sitting in the garden when he arrived (but I wasn't).
    • If she hadn't got a job in London (but she did), she would have been working in Paris (but she wasn't).
    • now what is the difference

    • If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have sat in the garden when he arrived (but I wasn't).

    • If she hadn't got a job in London (but she did), she would have worked in paris (but she wasn’t)

    @DavidCrosbie said:
    @hazzart
    The answer is complicated, so let's start with the most basic difficulty: the meaning and grammar of the verb sit.

    The phrase She sat can have two meanings:
    1. 'I sat down' — an ACT which lasted for just an instant.
    2. 'I was on a seat' — a STATE which lasted for some time.

    But we can't always use I sat for Meaning 2. We certainly can't when it's a fact in the background.
    If we mean 'I was on a seat in the garden' then we can't say
    I sat in the garden at the time_
    or
    I sat in the garden when he arrived
    We can only say
    I was sitting in the garden when he arrived
    or
    I was seated in the garden when he arrived.

    We can only use I sat with Meaning 1 'I sat down in the garden at the moment that he arrived'.

    For PAST PERFECT, it's the same. If we mean 'I had been on a seat' then we can only say
    I had been sitting in the garden when he arrived
    or
    I had been seated in the garden when he arrived.

    So for PAST CONDITIONAL, if we mean 'I would have been on a seat' then we can only say
    I would had been sitting in the garden when he arrived
    or
    I would had been seated in the garden when he arrived.

    Now the if-clause If the weather has been better is not like Meaning 1. It isn't an EVENT which would have lasted for an instant. It's a STATE which would have lasted for some time. So the two clauses must be about STATES. We can only say
    If the weather had been better, I would have been sitting in the garden or
    If the weather had been better, I would have been seated in the garden
    The two clauses together describe the hypothetical background to the ACT he arrived

    The meaning and grammar of the verb work is different.
    The clause She worked in Paris can describe
    1. 'She went to Paris and took up a job' — an ACT (which lasted for an instant) leading to a STATE which lasted for some time, in other words a STATE with a beginning
    2. 'Her job was in Paris' — a STATE with no sense of a beginning

    For Meaning 2 (no sense of beginning) we can use either She worked in Paris or She was working in Paris. The first suggests more permanence; the second often suggests something temporary.

    Again, the same applies to PAST PERFECT for meaning 2:
    She had worked in Paris suggesting a relatively permanent job
    She had been working in Paris suggesting a relatively temporary job

    And to PAST CONDITIONAL for meaning 2
    She would have worked in Paris suggesting a relatively permanent job
    She would have been working in Paris suggesting a relatively temporary job

    The choice disappears if you make it a background condition
    She would have been working in Paris when Macron was elected
    but not
    She would have worked in Paris when Macron was elected

    For Meaning 1 we use SIMPLE not PROGRESSIVE forms
    She worked in Paris 'She went to Paris and took up a job'
    She had worked in Paris 'She had gone to Paris and taken up a job'
    She would have worked in Paris 'She would have gone to Paris and taken up a job'

    So, correcting the sentences

    *_If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have been sitting in the garden when he arrived (but I wasn't)._ NO CHANGE. The condition is a STATE

    • If she hadn't got a job in London (but she had), she would have been working in Paris (but she wasn't) Both condition and result are STATES

    • If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have sat in the garden (but I didn't) ONLY POSSIBLE WITHOUT when he arrived . We can't say
    If the weather had been better (but it wasn't), I would have sat in the garden (but I didn't) when he arrived

    • If she hadn't obtained a job in London (but she did), she would have worked in Paris (but she didn't) The condition is an EVENT and the result is an ACTY beginning a STATE

    thaks a lot , you are amazing

  • Ok; it looks like some times both can be used but with a different meaning, for example this one ---> If I had known it was dangerous I wouldn't have been climbing that cliff.

    this indicates that he is kinda in action to be climbing and then he regrets .

    If I had known it was dangerous I wouldn't have climbed that cliff.

    meaning he is done with the climbing and sort of telling a story to his friends

    Am i right`?

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭

    Again, let's start with PAST SIMPLE

    I climbed that cliff is one way of looking at something that happened in the past.
    Think of it as looking through a window.
    Through the window you can se me from when I started to when I reached the top of the cliff.

    I was climbing that cliff is another way of looking at the same thing.
    Think of it as looking through a keyhole.
    Through the keyhole you can see me at one point — you can't see the beginning or end of the climb.

    If I describe a point of view such as when the rain started, then I have to use the keyhole view the PAST PROGRESSIVE.
    I was climbing that cliff when the rain started

    The same window view vs keyhole view is a choice in PAST PERFECT

    I had climbed that cliff vs I had been climbing that cliff

    The keyhole view is necessary when I describe the point of view

    I had been climbing that cliff when the rain started

    Similarly for PAST CONDITIONAL

    I would have climbed that cliff vs I would have been climbing that cliff

    but no choice when I describe the point of view

    I would have been climbing that cliff when the rain started

    Now, there's a complication.
    I climbed that cliff can be used to mean 'I started to climb that cliff'

    So there are two possible meanings for If I had known it was dangerous I wouldn't have climbed that cliff.
    1. 'If I'd known it was dangerous, I wouldn't have made the climb of that cliff from bottom to top' — window view
    2. 'If I'd known it was dangerous, I wouldn't have started climbing that cliff'

    But there's only one meaning for If I had known it was dangerous I wouldn't have been climbing that cliff.
    'If I'd known it was dangerous, I wouldn't have been in the process of climbing that cliff at that particular moment' — keyhole view

    Again, there's no choice when I describe the point of view. It must be through the keyhole.

    If I had known it was dangerous, I wouldn't have been climbing that cliff when the rain started

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