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If I had, I can Options
Joe Kim
Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2017 2:20:50 PM

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Joined: 9/16/2016
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I guess it would be always like:
1. If I had a pen, I could write something.
2. If I have a pen, I can write something.

However, if I say, "If i had a pen, I can write something now", would this still make sense and acceptable?
Romany
Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2017 2:28:47 PM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

No. The sentences begin with an 'if' clause; (conditional) so it must be "could" in both sentences.
shass
Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2017 3:04:46 PM
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Location: New Quay, Wales, United Kingdom
"Use could (not can) to refer to conditional situations, in which something has to happen or be the case in order for someone to be able to do something or for something else to occur:"
-Oxford Dictionaries-
NKM
Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2017 6:14:02 PM

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Joined: 2/14/2015
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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Joe Kim wrote:
I guess it would be always like:
1. If I had a pen, I could write something.
2. If I have a pen, I can write something.

However, if I say, "If i had a pen, I can write something now", would this still make sense and acceptable?

══════════════════════════════════════════════

No. Don't mix the tenses!

"Let's see if there's a pen in my pocket. If I have a pen, I can write something."

"Sorry, I don't have a pen. If I had a pen, I could write something."

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2017 6:41:20 PM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
As often happens, there is a bit more to the story.

The normal unreal present-time conditional (using modals) is:
If I had a pen (now, in my hand), I could write something (now).
If I had a pen, I could write something. However, I don't have one.

It is a present impossible conditional clause, dependent on an untrue present-time condition.

Another conditional (it does not mean the same) can use 'have' and 'can':
(Searching his pockets, he says "If I have a pen (now, in my pocket) I can write something (in the near future, when I find the pen)."
If I have a pen, I can write something.

It is a future conditional clause, dependent on a possible present-time condition.

************
Your suggestion "If I had a pen, I can write something now" tries to state a possible situation - but then says it depends on an untrue condition.
If the condition is untrue, the situation is not possible - so the sentence doesn't work (as the other answers say).



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Joe Kim
Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 11:13:25 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/16/2016
Posts: 362
Neurons: 1,856
Thank you very much everyone. I got pretty much confused at the beginning, but Drag0nspeaker and NKM cleared the confusion. Thanks alot for your help.

Here I have another comparison, can you take a look at this?

1. If you were more quiet, I could still sleep right now.
2. If you were more quiet, I could still be sleeping right now.

Are both correct?
NKM
Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 11:59:31 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/14/2015
Posts: 4,119
Neurons: 186,396
Location: Corinth, New York, United States
Only the "still be sleeping" form makes real sense.

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