Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
1) If he was there, I'd have talked to him.
Is the sentence correct?
2) If he had been there, I'd have talked to him.
But I think I hear things like '1'. Maybe it is correct in American English, but
not in British English?
Or maybe there is a difference in the meanings of '1' and '2'?
The default presumption is that both parties in this exchange know that
he wasn't there, and 2 is strictly correct. But 1 is entirely
comprehensible, and people say technically-incorrect things all the time.
If it's not clear whether he was there or not, the speaker/writer is in
effect saying "I don't know if he was there, but if he was he'd have
been one of the people I talked to." Both your sentences could also be
taken to mean that too, depending on the context.
A context could also be contrived in which 1) was correct but 2) wasn't.
These are fine details of 'correctness'. Not one in a hundred people
would notice the difference.