Can I say "had not dropped" instead of "never"? What's different between these two?
Yes, you are correct. "Never" can be replaced with "not" in this sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence. They ultimately express the same idea, but "never" has been used here for a stronger statement and to add emphasis. Ex: If I had not gone to pick up coffee before work, I might not have gotten into an accident. Ex: If I had never quit my job to pursue my dreams, I might still be the miserable, unhappy person I was back then.
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