My wife writes and edits good. She understands how to use words and punctuation irregardless of it’s tense and meaning. In a former job, she was known as the Grammar [redacted].

Tonight, I stumped her. Here is the situation: we were invited to attend a celebration in early December. We won’t be able to go because our son, Joshua David, will have just been born. In writing back to decline, I concocted the following sentence:

“We’re very excited for you guys, and we would obviously be there if we ________ have a newborn.”

What word(s) go(es) in that space? “did not”? No, don’t have a newborn yet. “would not”? Huh? Nope, not that. Neither of those sound right.

Now, Becky’s answer to this problem was to reword the sentence…but that’s cheating! Anybody can rearrange a sentence; I want a solution to my troubling grammatical troubles!

Anybody? You only get credit if you explain why and can prove it.