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  1. #1
    Honore is offline Junior Member
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    Be+to infinitive (past reference)

    Dear Teacher,

    In the following question, I am not sure which choice is the exact answer since both seem to be possible. With either one, I understand the meaning as;

    "we would definitely not have started the beginning if you had not come, that is; we waited for you and after you came, we started the meeting."

    Thanks for your explanations.

    Regards,

    QUESTION

    He said we were on no account _______ the meeting before he came.
    A) to have started
    B) to start

  2. #2
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    queenbu is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Be+to infinitive (past reference)

    He said we were on no account _______ the meeting before he came.
    A) to have started
    B) to start

    With (A) it seems to me as if we had started the meeting without him even though he had said that we shouldn't do so.
    With (B) it seems as if he had left instructions not to start the meeting without him and we haven't done so yet.

    Please note that I'm not an English teacher, so let's wait for their opinions.

  3. #3
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    Re: Be+to infinitive (past reference)

    Quote Originally Posted by Honore View Post
    Dear Teacher,

    In the following question, I am not sure which choice is the exact answer since both seem to be possible. With either one, I understand the meaning as;

    "we would definitely not have started the beginning if you had not come, that is; we waited for you and after you came, we started the meeting."

    Thanks for your explanations.

    Regards,

    QUESTION

    He said we were on no account _______ the meeting before he came.
    A) to have started
    B) to start
    What queenbu explan is quite right.

    Here is what I know in terms of traditional grammar:

    Choice A) is called the perfect aspect of an infinitive, which usually denotes an action prior to the verb in the principal clause, i.e. were or said in this case. Therefore, choice A) doesn't make much sense.

    Choice B) is named the simple aspect of an infinitive, which often signifies an simultaneous, if not later, action with the verb in the principal clause. Therefore, choice B) fits in the context better.

  4. #4
    Honore is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Be+to infinitive (past reference)

    Thanks a lot for all the explanations. Regards.

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