"I _________ with you, but I had to study"



"I _________ with you, but I had to study"

  1. would go
  2. might go
  3. would have gone
  4. could go

I thought 1 is correct but the book says it is not correct.


Posted 2014-12-12T17:02:04.910

Reputation: 10 254



The correct phrasing is:

I would have gone with you, but I had to study. (in the past)


I would go with you, but I have to study. (in the present)

The phrase "I have to study," is a present-tense phrase that means, "I am required to study." You use the phrase "I had to study," which is a past-tense form (so, "I was required to study").

I have to study today.

I had to study yesterday.

So, we know that you had to study in the past. Therefore, you also turned down the chance to go in the past. You must use the past form of "would go", which is "would have gone".


Posted 2014-12-12T17:02:04.910

Reputation: 4 878

@ apsillers thank you for your answer.What makes me confused is that the sentences I saw on my book.In this example we use " ..would .. , present tense" structure but we also say " I would go with you, if I were not busy"..what I am trying to say is that this time we use "...would.., past tense ". can we say " I would go with you, if I am not busy".I hope my confusing is clear. – Mrt – 2014-12-12T17:28:49.180


Your example "I would go with you, if I were not busy", is actually a special tense known as subjunctive tense which resembles plural past tense - http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-grammar-the-subjunctive-tense/ Here it is used to refer to a possibility that is not true. A way to say it without using subjunctive tense: "I would go with you, but I am busy."

– Kai – 2014-12-12T17:43:40.800

2"I would go with you, if I am not busy," is not quite correct. You can say "I will go with you, if I am not busy," but it means you aren't sure yet whether or not you will be busy, but you will go if you aren't, as opposed to meaning that you know you are busy, so you cannot go. The exact sentence "I would go with you, if I am not busy." is strange because "I would go with you" is immediate, present tense, but "if I am not busy" implies that you do not know if you are busy, which surely you do know if you are busy at the moment. – Kai – 2014-12-12T17:52:56.313

Thank you for the link and great explanation.There are two examples in my book: " If I had enough money, I would buy a car" and " If I had had enough money last year,I would have bought a car"..So what I was taught is that " past tense , would + subjective form of verb" and " past perfect , would + have+ subjective form of verb".. but there is another sentence also " if we had built a subway system 10 years ago, the traffic wouldn't be so bad today"..the last example merges the past and the present.. – Mrt – 2014-12-12T18:23:55.870

But what is the difference between "I would have gone with you but I had to study" and " I would have gone with you but I had had to study" in terms of meaning? – Mrt – 2014-12-12T18:25:28.913

1in this kind of situation i might also choose "I might have gone". by that i don't mean the same as the future tense "I might go with you" or "I may go with you" which would be an indication of my reluctance to commit. Instead, I am usually making apologies at all because something unexpected came up (e.g. the studying; perhaps the test got moved forward) and saying "might have" or "may have" just indicates my cynical 'Murphy's Law'-type view of the world: assuming that well, since that went wrong, it would have been easy enough for something else to go wrong too! xD – shelleybutterfly – 2014-12-12T18:56:42.643

1@Murat as regards the two senses it's probably easier to examine that case with a slightly different sentence, otherwise we have both {the past-tense of the helper verb to have => had} as well as {the past-tense modal must => had to}. So, maybe try it with need: 'I might have gone but I needed to study.' and 'I might have gone but I had needed to study.' To me it seems a subtle difference; the only thing that occurs to me is that I think I'd probably use the first conversationally, but the second I'd probably only ever use in a storytelling situation; or much farther in the future. – shelleybutterfly – 2014-12-12T19:10:20.047

@ shelleybutterfly.Thank you I got it and everything is gonna be ok! :) – Mrt – 2014-12-14T17:42:09.040


We know the conditional statement is about the past, because of the way had is used. So we look for the past participle: gone, in this case, and see that it is coupled with would have (and not something else, like will have). So we know we have the correct answer.

The other three options refer to present and future tenses, which are not correct in conjunction with had.


Posted 2014-12-12T17:02:04.910

Reputation: 66

@ beef_miracle thank you for answer.Could you check out my related questions on this page. – Mrt – 2014-12-12T18:27:38.257

This is not really correct at all. The OP may have seen sentences like "I would go with you if I had my coat with me". So it's fine to use the present conditional when there is "had" in the subordinate clause. In this particular case, it's the way that "had" has been used that's important, not the fact that the word "had" is in the subordinate clause. – Dawood ibn Kareem – 2014-12-12T22:09:17.360

Yes. Thanks for pointing out. But the phrase "because of the use of had" does not imply "exclusively, and if and only if, had is used". Agree it could be made clearer. – beef_miracle – 2014-12-12T22:50:02.057