I'm struggling to understand how I can change the tense of conditional sentences.

For example, if I want to say "If I were him, I wouldn't say such things" I presume I would say "もし私が彼だったらあんなことは言わない". But if I want to say "If I were him, I wouldn't have said such things" should I say "もし私が彼だったらあんなことは言わなかった" ?

  • 5
    You probably want 「私だったら」 or 「私なら」 instead of the wordy 「もし私が彼だったら」
    – oals
    Commented Dec 27, 2016 at 15:39

2 Answers 2


「あんなことは言{い}わなかった」 would be quite acceptable in non-formal speech. It would easily be understood to mean "I would not have said ~~" by native speakers if used in the right context.

You should, however, be at least aware that grammatically speaking, 「言わなかった」 is only in the simple past tense.

More formally and/or academically, you can say:

「言わなかったであろう」 and its shorter version is:


It is also very natural and common to say:


  • 1
    If anyone has a reference to a grammar blog/lesson/dictionary that talks about these forms, could you share a link? I didn't see these examples in my textbook, so would like to find a source to learn this type of grammar.
    – max
    Commented Sep 25, 2022 at 6:27

Based on my understanding (JLPT N2), your suggested sentence "もし私が彼だったらあんなことは言わなかった" is correct.

Although in this case, I would agree with the comment on your OP above (which seems to no longer be there, maybe it was deleted) to use なら instead, unless there's a particular reason you want to use たら.

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