Use of past tense as a conditional?

In the following conversation, where B lost his wallet and A returns it to him:

A: 「これを忘れていましたよ。」
B: 「えっ それは私のお金入れです。」
A: 「忘れたので、届けに来ました。」
B: 「まあまあ、ありがとうございます。このお金がなかったら、この先、宿のお金も払えません。食べ物を買うこともできません。伊勢神宮まで行くこともできませんでした。」

In the last sentence, B is talking about the consequences of having lost his wallet. I think about it as ‘I won’t be able to pay for a hotel, I won’t be able to buy food’, and so on.
Can somebody explain why is the verb tense the past (できませんでした)?

The structure なかったら …できませんでした here, is it similar to the English conditional: If it hadn’t … it wouldn’t have … ? , meaning 'If there hadn’t been money, I wouldn’t have been able to pay for the hotel, and so on?

Thank you.

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The conditional here is the ~たら in the middle.

Confess I’m not too clear on what the past tense is doing at the end. I guess it’s just creating a hypothetical - “I wouldn’t even have been able to…”.

(Though if someone said all that to me in English, I’d be going “… yeah, I know how money works.” Like, just give one example and leave it at that - “Oh what a relief, without my wallet, I wouldn’t have been able to pay for lunch” full stop.)

This wasn’t written by ChatGPT, was it?


Yeah they’re called counterfactual conditionals or something. I had one in my n5 quiz.


Vanilla and Belthazar, thanks so much. I didn’t even know the structure. Now, I know what I’m looking for.

Yeahh, there’s some weird word choices and the rigidness made me think of this as well.

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Googling says it’s from one of the graded readers. So I guess the slight oddness in style is probably because it was written to fit a difficulty level. It was written in 2016 so well before the advent of chatgpt.


Yeah, that was my other theory.

Or maybe that’s just what ChatGPT wants you to think…


Yes, it is from tadoku, level 3. I will take into account that it is not completely natural, thanks a lot.