As mentioned in the previous lesson on ‘unreal present’, we can categorize conditional sentences as referring to either ‘real’ or ‘unreal’ (hypothetical) situations.
‘Unreal’ conditional sentences which refer to the past are constructed using two different forms: the subjunctive past perfect and the conditional past.
Here are some examples, with English translations:
Se avessi avuto il tuo aiuto non mi sarei trovato in difficoltà con il test di inglese.
[If I had had your help, I wouldn’t have had trouble with the English test.]
Sono sicuro che, se aveste visto il bambino correre, lo avreste fermato subito.
[I am sure that, if you had seen the baby running, you would have stopped him immediately.]
Se avessi saputo del terremoto non sarei mai venuto in vacanza a Bologna in questo periodo.
[If I had known about the earthquake, I would never have come on holiday to Bologna at this time.]
Back to Italian lesson on: unreal past