a. If she had been there, John would have seen her.

b. If she was there, John would have seen her.

Are both sentences grammatically correct?

Is there any difference in their meanings?

Many thanks.

Original Post
azz posted:

a. If she had been there, John would have seen her.
b. If she was there, John would have seen her.

Are both sentences grammatically correct?
Is there any difference in their meanings?

Hi, Azz—Prescriptively speaking, "were" should be used in the if-clause of (b). Apart from that, both sentences are grammatically correct; and, yes, they do differ in meaning. Sentence (a) concerns the past, and sentence (b) concerns the present. Consider that the adverbial  "by now" could be naturally added to (b) ("If she were there, John would have seen her by now"), but not to (a) (?? "If she had been there, John would have seen her by now").

Last edited by David, Moderator

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