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  1. #1
    martak is offline Newbie
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    Smile conditionals

    Just wondering, which sentence is correct and why:

    1. If at that point the situation was well in hand, then why did they react so brutally?
    or
    2. If at that point the situation had been well in hand, then why did they react so brutally?
    thanks

  2. #2
    Tomasz Klimkiewicz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: conditionals

    = NOT A TEACHER =

    Dear Martak,

    In my humble opinion neither of the quoted sentences is a conditional sentence. The mere fact that both begin with 'if' doesn't make them automatically conditionals. Since we share the same mother tongue, let me explain the substance with a Polish example (readers of other nationalities, please forgive). In either sentence you could use the Polish equivalent 'jeśli' but you could also use 'skoro' (not a conditional-opening adverb) instead.

    In the second example, the usage of Past Perfect in the main clause simply places the action back in time relative to the clause with a question. If the action sequence doesn't need an emphasis, the first example sounds a lot more natural.

    Regards,

    TK

  3. #3
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Re: conditionals

    Quote Originally Posted by martak View Post
    Just wondering, which sentence is correct and why:

    1. If at that point the situation was well in hand, then why did they react so brutally?
    or
    2. If at that point the situation had been well in hand, then why did they react so brutally?
    thanks
    #1. A predictive, not a hypothetical, conditional is intended here. Tense sequence in predictive conditionals is as for main clauses (preterite for past, etc.)

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