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  1. outofdejavu's Avatar
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    #1

    If you __ in America, you must have found that Americans are almost all colors and ra

    Hello,

    An EFL test question goes:
    If you __ in America, you must have found that Americans are almost all colors and races.

    An option is "had been;" the other option is "were."

    --

    1.


    In my humble opinion,

    "Americans are almost of all colors and races"

    would read more idiomatic.

    Or, in this case, the that-clause without "of" doesn't bother native English speakers, does it?

    2.

    I guess "had been" would agree with the grammar.
    - If you had been in America, you must have found that ....

    How about "were"?
    - If you were in America, you must have found that ....

    I think "were" would also do in this case.

    What is/are your verdict(s)?



    Sincerely,

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If you __ in America, you must have found that Americans are almost all colors an

    Quote Originally Posted by outofdejavu View Post
    Hello,

    An EFL test question goes:

    An option is "had been;" the other option is "were."

    --

    1.


    In my humble opinion,

    "Americans are almost of all colors and races" It's fine without "of".

    would read more idiomatic.

    Or, in this case, the that-clause without "of" doesn't bother native English speakers, does it?

    2.

    I guess "had been" would agree with the grammar.
    - If you had been in America, you must have found that ....

    How about "were"?
    - If you were in America, you must have found that ....

    I think "were" would also do in this case.

    What is/are your verdict(s)?



    Sincerely,
    "Had been" is correct, "were" would imply that you were in America now.

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    #3

    Re: If you __ in America, you must have found that Americans are almost all colors an

    I think that 'Americans are almost all races' is clumsy, but putting 'of' in that position doesn't work for me. You could have 'there are Americans of almost all...'


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    #4

    Re: If you __ in America, you must have found that Americans are almost all colors an

    - If you had been in America, you must have found that ....


    - If you were in America, you must have found that ....


    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    "Had been" is correct, "were" would imply that you were in America now.
    You know, I'm not sure that this has ever come up for me before.

    I do remember the ludicrous argument from prescriptivists who, in attempting to rally support for a subjunctive only 'were' form for contrary to fact situations, stating that using the indicative 'was', in "If I was you, ..." meant that "I really was you".

    But here we have what Bhaisahab reckons to be an indicative 'were', ie. "if you were in America now".

    Is it an indicative 'were'? What causes it to be so, to be glossed as an indicative 'were'; is it because of its particular collocation with "must have found"? Is it due solely to semantic considerations?

    Can it be glossed as, "allowing that you may/might/could have been in America at one time, you would then surely have noticed that ..."? If we gloss it as I've just described, what's the difference between the indicative use that allows for something to be true/considered eg. "If you actually were at the party, then ... " and Bahaisahab's understanding?

    Hold it! Am I missing something? Is there such an animal in English, an indicative that uses the subjunctive form 'were', that allows in an 'if' clause that something is true right now?

    Bhaisahab, you wrote, "were would imply that you were in America now.

    Shouldn't that be [and I'm not talking about any sense of right and wrong here] "were would imply that you are in America now?

    I readily admit to being confused right now. I even think that I might be making a mountain out of a molehill.


    Outofdejavu wrote: I guess "had been" would agree with the grammar.
    There seems to be a persistent rumor floating around, that for English, tenses have to match. That is certainly not true, Outofdejavu.
    Last edited by albeit; 10-Sep-2009 at 11:35.


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    #5

    Re: If you __ in America, you must have found that Americans are almost all colors an

    - If you had been in America, you must have found that ....


    - If you were in America, you must have found that ....

    ===================================

    To my mind, the following four work as well as the two above, maybe better.

    1. If you have been in America, you must have found that ....

    2. If you have been living in America, you must have found that ....

    3. If you are in America, you must have noticed [found] that ....

    4, If you are living in America, you must have found that ....

    =============

    - If you were in America, you must have found that ....

    could also suggest,

    - If you were ever in America, you must have found that ....

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