Mrs. Chili is stumped, class, and I’m looking for some clarification.
The other night, I was watching football on television, as I am prone to do this time of year. I’m constantly amazed by John Madden (and not in a good way, either). Here’s a man who makes his living talking – describing people and actions to a listening public. There are SO many other, more eloquent announcers on the air that it astounds me that this man still has a job. Seriously; the guy sounds like a moron.
Anyway, I was sitting there watching the game – it’s pre-season, so I don’t really remember who was playing; I think it was New Orleans and Kansas City – when a player missed a catch in the flat on a third down seconds before half time. Madden comes out with something like this:
“Now, if he would have caught that, we’d have a different game here!“
First of all, DUH. One of the things that annoys me about this man is his brilliant ability to point out the patently obvious. Second, I’m not sure that the tense he used makes any sense in the way he used it, but I can’t articulate why I feel that way.
It’s the would have caught that made me twitch. That just seems wrong to me, but I can’t find anything in my references to tell me why it’s wrong. Would one of my linguist friends – or someone who paid more attention during the classes where verb tenses were taught – help me out, please?