1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. "Если бы я не помнил, где офи…

"Если бы я не помнил, где офис, то не нашёл бы его."

Translation:If I did not remember where the office was, I would not have found it.

December 27, 2015

53 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kpagcha

I am not a native English speaker but this doesn't sound right to me. I think the most natural way to say this would be "If I hadn't remembered where the ofice was, I wouldn't have found it".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Berniebud

I'm a native English speaker and I agree. The tenses should agree with each other in this sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oinophilos

From another native English speaker and English teacher, kpagcha and Berniebud are right. The normal sequence is to keep all the verbs past, although you will hear people use present forms to refer to something (location of the office) that is still true now. I personally like tense sequence and do not approve of mixing tense systems.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alexroseajr

What's more, the whole sentence is just poorly constructed in the first place.

I could see the sentence "If I didn't know where the office was I would never have found it", or "If I didn't remember where the office was, I wouldn't be here"

but it's the combination of "remember" and "found" that is so bizarre. By invoking the idea you might not have remembered where it by using the word "remember" by "know", you're already implying that they still had to search.

Like, if I "remember" where an office is instead of "knowing", it's more like "if I am on this street I can find it", rather than "I can drive there from any location". If I say "I remember where the office is", it's a hazy, unknown, speculative action and I will try and seek my way there, so you're already having to "find" it.

It's just weird, I can't imagine anyone saying this sentence in any context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim_Shakh

Is "If I didn't remember where the office is, I would not have found it" alright?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theron126

It sounds OK to me. Though if you say "I would not have" perhaps it's better to also say "if I hadn't remembered".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oinophilos

Right. Because "didn't remember" is a speculation about present time (subjunctive looks like past, but has present meaning). But still, a native speaker could say this, thinking, I still remember, so even though I'm referring to a past event (finding), I can use present subjunctive in the first clause. Consider: "Of course, I know who you are. If I didn't, I wouldn't have called out to you."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iyugov

Russian speaker, studying English through the reverse tree. "If I DID not remember"... Why "where the office IS", not "WAS"? Hasn't it to be past simple in both cases?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Theron126

You can say "is", the office is still there. Though it sounds fine with "was" too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ixoyzzz

Yeah, you can say "is" if you want to talk about where something is currently as opposed to a past location. Imagine a sentence like "I remembered where the office was (before), but I didn't remember where it is (now)." In some cases it still sounds strange to me, even as a native speaker.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oinophilos

In your example you are turning a subjunctive sentence about the present into an indicative sentence about the past. It is perfectly correct English, but in removing the conditional IF you express a different thought.

"IF I didn't remember where the office was" refers to a speculation contrary to fact about my memory now. For that we use the subjunctive present (which in English happens to look just like simple past) and other verbs in the sequence relating to the same time are in the same form, hence didn't remember is followed by was.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MST3Kakalina

"If I didn't remember where the office is" sounds entirely unnatural to me (even taking the other answers here into consideration) (sorry guys).

If I thought she has a tiger (wrong) / If I thought she had a tiger (right)

If I remembered that she has a tiger (wrong / If I remembered that she had a tiger (right)

I think this is because of two things: 1) the main verb in the "if" section is a verb about thinking/cognition and 2) the "if" section is in the subjunctive past. Because look what happens with "watch":

If we watched them play soccer (right) / If we watched them played soccer (wrong)

This is a question worth taking to something like Quora or StackExchange; the people there are smarter than me. ^_^


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/peachtree2

Examples that work have two clauses, two subjects. "Them" is an object ("play" is like infinitive in your example, "playing", it's not conjugated for "they"):

"If we watched HOW they play/played soccer, [then] we might be better."

"If we watched WHEN they play/played soccer, [then] we would know when the field is free."

"If I didn't remember WHERE the office is/was, [then] how would I get to work everyday?"

"If I thought [THAT] she has/had a tiger, [then] I was mistaken, I don't remember ever saying that."

"It was good [THAT] she keeps/kept a spare key"

"We were lucky [THAT] she lives/lived there"

Past tense for the second verb is fine. It doesn't suggest that the statement is no longer true. Present tense just firmly asserts that what was true then is still true now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheDreadfulGuy

Could anyone please explain me, where did the expressions ''То не нашёл бы его'' and ''То не'' come from?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iyugov

"не" - "I would NOT find it"

"то" - implied "then": "If I did not remember where the office is, [THEN] I would not find it". Sometimes in Russian "то" can be omitted, too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DouglasPage1

This has to be the most inconsistent section in this app. in one sentence, we are required to translate the past tense of a Russian word into the present tense in English, or it is wrong, then in the next one, we are asked to translate the present conjugated form of a Russian word into the past tense or it is wrong.. Is there any native Russian Speaker here who can explain a rule that applies to justify this?


[deactivated user]

    this lesson is painfull


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/serry02

    As a native speaker I fully agree, this is a terrible translation of an unnatural sounding sentence.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oinophilos

    This translation is still not corrected, January 2019. Please change "did not" to "had not" or "hadn't."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nelvb

    I used "hadn't" and it was accepted (March 2019).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matj206295

    I think that's the only correct solution!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichalaK_EU

    No idea what то means ...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Miguel986964

    What does то do in this sentence?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nunes89

    Why are all the possible answers in past tense? How can I make it in present tense, like, "If I don't remember where the office is, I don't find it" (I know it sounds like a silly statement, but I can use it in other situations).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TooLucky

    You have to change the verbs' tense to present and get rid of "бы", which is a part of the past conditional form: "Если я не помню, где офис, то не нахожу его". Makes no sense here, but you could do it in a different context. For example: "Если я не помню, где офис, то ищу в Google"/If i don't remember where the office is, I google it ("ищу" is a present form of the verb "to search").


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nunes89

    Yes! Exactly what I wanted :) Thank you so much!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oinophilos

    To put it another way, this sentence is using one form of present subjunctive (which is identical to past indicative except for one verb) to refer to a thought that is contrary to fact: I do remember--, but if I did not, I would not. The meaning is still present, just not a statement. You are at level 19 in German, so you know there are two subjunctives in Germanic languages. In English the forms have conflated so much that we don't recognize them most of the time. But note where they do show up: "If I were [not was] in Paris, I would drink more wine" [but i'm not so I won't], analogous to German Konjunctiv II wäre [not war]; and " He insists that I be [not am] more careful, analogous to Konjunktiv I sei [not bin] .

    Your example is indicative because it refers to a thought that might be true: "Maybe I don't (or won't) remember. If I don't remember where the office is [present or future meaning], I won't be able to find it." That makes perfect sense but is a very different sentence, as TooLucky points out.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oinophilos

    The statement doesn't sound silly if you substitute "won't" in the second clause. But this sentence is not subjunctive. The present unreal conditional in English would be "If I didn't remember where the office was, I wouldn't (be able to) find it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rune-skelley

    "... I would not find it" sounds, to put it bluntly, like broken English in this sentence. It should be "... I would not have found it."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oinophilos

    Not if it’s present, talking about a future search. I know where it is so I will find it. If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/simon.kinsella

    Strange sentence....


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KalenGi

    What's the role of бы here when если seems to work just fine


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ULRICHSCHL4

    "If I would not have remembered, where the office is, I would not have found it" Why is this wrong??


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Oinophilos

    In English you don't use "would have" in an "if" clause. It's "If I had not remembered." "Had" is here is actually subjunctive, like "hätte" in German. The main clause is correct: "I would not have found it."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EnriqueV226974

    This has been stated here before, but they really need to have native English speakers involved, so they don't mark as incorrect answers that can be built in more than one way. It's a bit frustrating


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John1069

    A more accurate (if also possibly less American) translation: "If I had not remembered where the office was, I would not have found it." This sentence is an example of the English past unreal conditional. However, the past perfect ("had not remembered") in American English, generally speaking, tends to be slipping out of common usage whereas in British English (and others) it is more common. For past conditionals, see: https://www.englishpage.com/conditional/pastconditional.html


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julie65645

    Why such long sentences? It makes me want to give up in despair.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KalenGi

    I know the feeling. Hang in there, eventually you get to the point where your brain can process it all without leaving you out of breathe.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ivan_leo

    As a native British English speaker, the English sentence sounds perfectly fine to me. I'd like to know what то means here though.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xamelov

    Why am I told in the TIPS section that бы goes right after то, and there are many other examples that prove this, if I suddenly cannot put it in its rightful place? I keep writing the sentence as the TIPS section suggests, and this thing keeps telling me that it is wrong. P** D


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Loo951371

    If I did not remember where the office was , I would have used google maps


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RudolfBari

    Why do you make so long sentences?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Trudy664886

    I did not see "я" on the list of words


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jacob387465

    Ive seen the sentence: Почему бы нам не сходить в кино в следующую субботу?

    Is бы necessary here↑? Is it also necessary after Если in Duo's example?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kundoo

    Yes, it's necessary in both examples, because it affects the meaning.

    "Почему бы не..?" is a form of suggesting something. It's a rhetorical question. You are not asking about the reasons why not, you are simply making an offer.

    "Почему не...?" means you are literally asking about the reasons why not.

    "Если бы" is used for something that didn't actually happen having a hypothetical result that differs from what has taken place in real life. "Если бы я не помнил..." - we know that in reality he did remember, and he is talking hypothetically about what would happen if he didn't.

    "Если" is used to describe real conditions. "If X happens then Y will happen". It usually makes more sense to use it in the present or future tense tense. Though it can be used in the past tense as well, but it requires the context where we don't know what happened in the past and make logical assumptions about what could transpire. "Если он не знал, где офис, то не нашёл его" - We don't know what really happen, but we come to a logical conclusion that he couldn't find the office if he didn't know where it is. Saying this from his perspective makes no sense whatsoever, because he already knows what has happened to him in the past (unless he has amnesia).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jacob387465

    Thank you for the info! Бы is really making a big impact on the sentence. More than I thought. thank you.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KotsosAlex

    could someone explain the role of TO in this construction and how it translates ? thanks a lot


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Loo951371

    Not a native speaker but I believe in this sense it means 'then'. 'If I did not remember where the office was, THEN I would not have found it. Hopefully a native speaker may be able to confirm/elaborate.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CharlesLov3

    Did not and didn't are interchangeable. My response was otherwise identical. To mark it incorrect was ridiculous. I am not going to waste my time on this exercise. If responses have to be in Elizabethan English you should say so. Are contractions not allowed?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KalenGi

    In such cases, report it and it shall eventually be added to the database of acceptable translations.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CharlesLov3

    Are contractions not allowed?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/postsolipsist

    We can see that people have been complaining about this translation for years, and Duo has not fixed it here or in numerous other instances in the Russian course. Not remembering where the office was is a precondition of not having found it. The auxiliary verb "did" does not satisfy this condition because it signals only a change to the past tense. What we need is a change to the past perfective: "If I had not remembered." Which is what everyone is asking Duo to fix.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/supermollusc

    "If I did not remember where the office was, I would not have found it." You cannot say this - it's just wrong. "If I had not..." is correct

    Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.