“I wonder how my life would have been different had she lived”

In the game Rise of The Tomb Raider, there’s a mission where Lara (main protagonist) explores her parents’ mansion. Her parents died when she was a child.

As she explores the possession, she recalls memories from her childhood. At some point she says (about her mom) “I wonder how my life would have been different had she lived”.

Here come my questions:

  1. Why does she say it like that? Is there any difference between what she said and “…how my life would have been different if she had lived”. Why is there no IF ?

  2. She clearly uses here third conditional which refers to past, though she’s still alive. Her life is an ongoing process! I would have understood if she used “childhood” instead of “life”.


  1. There is no IF because she is using a different grammatical form, where you use “Had [subject] [past tense]” to indicate a past alternative that would have led to a different present. Like, “Had I known things would turn out this way I never would have invented that time machine”. It’s equivalent to the “IF” form but it’s less common and a bit more formal. Maybe with more connotations of regret ?

Here is a video talking about several inversion forms including this one (at around 4:00)

  1. It is implied she is talking about her life up to that point. “Childhood” wouldn’t work because presumably her whole life would have been different, not just her childhood.

Source : Link , Question Author : Nick , Answer Author : Oosaka

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