Hello, everyone,

“Costas Efthimiou is a University of Central Florida physics professor claims he has mathematic proof that the vampires–at least as they are depicted in legend–simply can’t exist. The logic goes something like this:

“On Jan 1, 1600, the human population was 536,870,911. If the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month, there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600. A month later there would have been four, and so on. In just two-and-a-half years the original human population would all have become vampires with nobody left to feed on.”

I would appreciate, if you give your opinion for the inquiries below;

1) If the underlined part above is a subjunctive or not? I am thinking of ‘would have been’ above as a future of the past.

2) If that is a mixed conditional, then why the author chose the past tense in 'if-clause' instead of the past perfect one, since the time line has been clearly set as Jan. 1, 1600? I mean, the version - "If the first vampire had come into existence that day and bit one person a month, there would have been ... " would be fit to the mixed conditional.

*source;

https://www.techrepublic.com/a...oves-you-cant-exist/

Original Post

Hi, Deepcosmos,

@deepcosmos posted:

“On Jan 1, 1600, the human population was 536,870,911. If the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month, there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600. A month later there would have been four, and so on. In just two-and-a-half years the original human population would all have become vampires with nobody left to feed on.”

That "came" is real, not unreal past. You can understand the sentence as follows:

- If it is true that the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month, then there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

That "came" is real, not unreal past. You can understand the sentence as follows:

- If it is true that the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month, then there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

Hi, Gustavo, appreciate yours. Would you let me know following two things;

1) Are you also thinking of 'would have been' as a future of the past?

2) Did you use 'If it is true' to say 'a possible future event', not 'something unreal' (something that is unlikely or impossible)?

That "came" is real, not unreal past.

By the way, Gustavo, if I think the tense simplification has been applied in if clause (instead of 'had come'), thus, resulting in a mixed conditional, does it make sense?

@deepcosmos posted:

1) Are you also thinking of 'would have been' as a future of the past?

I'm thinking of it as a hypothetical future from a past perspective.

@deepcosmos posted:

2) Did you use 'If it is true' to say 'a possible future event', not 'something unreal' (something that is unlikely or impossible)?

No. I used it as a metatextual reference to "the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month." Let's see if this helps:

- According to the legend, the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month. If the first vampire actually came into existence that day and bit one person a month (if we consider that as a fact), then there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

@deepcosmos posted:

By the way, Gustavo, if I think the tense simplification has been applied in if clause (instead of 'had come'), thus, resulting in a mixed conditional, does it make sense?

Yes, you can say:

- If the first vampire had come into existence that day and bitten one person a month, then there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

I'm thinking of it as a hypothetical future from a past perspective.

No. I used it as a metatextual reference to "the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month." Let's see if this helps:

- According to the legend, the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month. If the first vampire actually came into existence that day and bit one person a month (if we consider that as a fact), then there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

Yes, you can say:

- If the first vampire had come into existence that day and bitten one person a month, then there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

Hi, Gustavo, thank you for your supports as always.

Last edited by deepcosmos

Yes, you can say:

- If the first vampire had come into existence that day and bitten one person a month, then there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

Hello, Gustavo, sorry to bother you with my belated inquiry.

In case I think of the original sentence as a kind of mixed conditional, is there any possibility that the "had come/had bitten" of the 3rd conditional in "If the first vampire had come into existence that day and bitten one person a month" could be simplified into "came/bit", thus, resulting in a mixed conditional like we usually use 'past tense'  instead of past perfect with time conjunctions (e.g. after, as soon as, when, once) to talk about two actions or events that happened one after the other in "After it got dark, we came back inside."?

Really would hope to hear again.

Last edited by deepcosmos

No, Deepcosmos. The mixed conditional you are thinking about combines unreal past (referring to the present) with conditional perfect (referring to the past), for example:

- There are no vampires here. If there was (were) one (actually, there are none), we would have already seen it.

In the original sentence, "came" and "bit" express real past. The past perfect "had come" and "had bitten" express hypothetical past. The past simple is not a simplified version of the past perfect in this case but expresses a different idea. However, combined with the conditional perfect, the result is more or less the same:

- If the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month (if it is true that this happened), there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

- If the first vampire had come into existence that day and bitten one person a month (which was not the case), there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

No, Deepcosmos. The mixed conditional you are thinking about combines unreal past (referring to the present) with conditional perfect (referring to the past), for example:

- There are no vampires here. If there was (were) one (actually, there are none), we would have already seen it.

In the original sentence, "came" and "bit" express real past. The past perfect "had come" and "had bitten" express hypothetical past. The past simple is not a simplified version of the past perfect in this case but expresses a different idea. However, combined with the conditional perfect, the result is more or less the same:

- If the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month (if it is true that this happened), there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

- If the first vampire had come into existence that day and bitten one person a month (which was not the case), there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600.

Hi, Gustavo, you've almost saved me from a headache!

1. Then, could I be understood that past perfect - such as 'had come/bitten' of in a conditional is never simplified into simple past?

2. When you view 'came/bit' as real past and 'would have been' as hypothetical future from a past perspective, the whole sentence is a mixed one with an indicative mood in the if clause and a conditional one in the main clause?

Last edited by deepcosmos
@deepcosmos posted:

1. Then, could I be understood that past perfect - such as 'had come/bitten' of in a conditional is never simplified into simple past?

The only case I can think of where the past perfect could be simplified into past simple in an if-clause could occur when both express real past, for example:

- If you said a vampire had bitten you, how come you have no marks on your neck?
- If you said a vampire bit you, how come you have no marks on your neck?

@deepcosmos posted:

2. When you view 'came/bit' as real past and 'would have been' as hypothetical future from a past perspective, the whole sentence is a mixed one with an indicative mood in the if clause and a conditional one in the main clause?

Exactly.

The only case I can think of where the past perfect could be simplified into past simple in an if-clause could occur when both express real past, for example:

- If you said a vampire had bitten you, how come you have no marks on your neck?
- If you said a vampire bit you, how come you have no marks on your neck?

Exactly.

Hi, Gustavo, really appreciate. With my sincere RESPECTs to You.