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Thread: be afraid that

  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default be afraid that

    Dear teachers,

    Would you please tell me which tenses can be used in this sentence:
    She was afraid her friend

    Future:
    a) would tell (would you call this a future in the past ??)
    b) may/might/could tell

    Past:
    c) had told
    d) may have told / might have told (are they identical ?)
    her parents the truth.

    Now what about the present, can I say:

    She is afraid LEST her friend SHOULD tell (and not WILL tell ?) her parents the truth?

    And what about the past? Can I say:

    "She was afraid LEST her friend SHOULD HAVE TOLD (past perfect subjunctive ??) her parents the truth" ?

    Thank you for your help.
    Hela
    Last edited by hela; 29-Apr-2006 at 06:55.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: be afraid that

    Future- I wouldn't use 'may', but the others are fine, and yes it's got the ideas of past futurity because it would have taken place after the time she was afraid.

    Past- All fine. The distinction between 'may have' (we don't know) and 'might have' (had the chance but didn't) is being eroded nowadays.

    The 'lest' example sounds sort of possible, but not very likely- it's a very formal term. 'lest her friend told' (past futurity) would work

  3. #3
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: be afraid that

    Thanks tdol

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