Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: would have.

would have.

“Would have” for “had,” in a conditional statement, is an example of a confused sequence of tenses — e.g.: o “If the trial judge would have [read ‘had’] allowed impeachment with a limiting instruction . . . , Robinson would be before this court arguing that this alternative solution was error.” United States v. Robinson, 783 F.2d 64, 68 (7th Cir. 1986). o “‘It would have been more eventful today if we would have [read ‘had’] won.'” Mike Cochran, “Four’s a Crowd: TCU Tops Tech, Shares in SWC Crown,” Austin Am.-Statesman, 26 Nov. 1994, at C2 (quoting Spike Dikes, Texas Tech’s coach). “Would have” [+] for “had” [+] is especially common in the Southwest, probably from contamination by “could have” [+]. Language-Change Index — “if I would have” for “if I had”: Stage 3. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “The perception of change in old and trusted meanings is always likely to irk those of us who think we have the beauty and efficiency of the language at heart.” Walter Nash, An Uncommon Tongue: The Uses and Resources of English 13 (1992).
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