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    #1

    grammar

    I know conditionals, but this sentence boggles my mind
    The boy would have behaved in a different way if he were selfish
    Why don't we use if he had been selfish?

  1. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by FATE91 View Post
    I know conditionals, but this sentence boggles my mind
    The boy would have behaved in a different way if he were selfish
    Why don't we use if he had been selfish?
    "The boy would have behaved in a different way (or differently) if he had been selfish." Correct. (3rd Coditional)

    "The boy would behave..........................if he were selfish." Correct. (2nd Conditional)

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    #3

    Re: grammar

    I thought the same way, but a bloody Russian book gives such examples as correct ones. I've never seen this kind of sentences before! So they are incorrect then?

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    #4

    Re: grammar

    Yes. The example you cited is incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: grammar

    thanks

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    #6

    Re: grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by riquecohen View Post
    Yes. The example you cited is incorrect.
    I don't see why it's incorrect. It's a mixed conditional IMO.

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    #7

    Re: grammar

    Is there such thing? What does it mean then?

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    #8

    Re: grammar

    hi,
    Please note I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker;

    I'm sorry for poking my nose into your discussion but the example given
    is correct. It's an example of mixed conditional (second/third) not so common perhaps but still used and correct.
    Not being selfish is a permanent feature of the boy and it is related to the past event.


    Cheers

    bhaisahab was quicker
    Last edited by Jaskin; 09-Sep-2010 at 14:40.

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    #9

    Re: grammar

    Bhaisahab is correct, as is Jaskin. This type of conditional is not that uncommon. Sorry I missed it.

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    #10

    Re: grammar

    A learner

    Quote Originally Posted by FATE91 View Post
    The boy would have behaved in a different way if he were selfish
    It is about the personality of the boy.

    The boy who is not selfish behaved in this way.
    If the boy were selfish he would have behaved in a different way. (were ~ the past subjunctive here)

    If I be (that) bad I wouldn't have helped you last week. (In my opinion I am the same person that I was before) be ~ the present subjunctive here
    It is not natural to say If I had been bad I wouldn't have ..

    ?

    Thanks
    Last edited by e2e4; 09-Sep-2010 at 15:41.

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