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    #1

    Smile had been + p.p.

    Is the following sentence grammatical?

    If Cleopatra's nose had been shortened, the history of the world would have been rewritten.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: had been + p.p.

    It would mean that someone else shortened it, as some people have done today through cosmetic surgery.

    If that's what you mean, then it's grammatical, but I don't know that I understand the meaning.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: had been + p.p.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashiuhto View Post
    Is the following sentence grammatical?

    If Cleopatra's nose had been shortened, the history of the world would have been rewritten.
    Grammatical? Only if the world has already ended and the history has been written. I just looked out my window and everything seems to be OK.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: had been + p.p.

    I don't have a problem interpreting that to mean the history of the world TO DATE. I don't infer it means all of "history" is over. Was that your first impression?
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Smile Re: had been + p.p.

    Sorry, I made a mistake by putting the word "shorter" replaced by "shortened". I revised the sentence as written. Is it grammatical?
    Can the word "flatter" substitute for "shorter" ?

    If Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the history of the world would have been rewritten.

    If Cleopatra's nose had been flatter, the history of the world would have been rewritten.

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    #6

    Re: had been + p.p.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashiuhto View Post
    Sorry, I made a mistake by putting the word "shorter" replaced by "shortened". I revised the sentence as written. Is it grammatical?
    Can the word "flatter" substitute for "shorter" ?

    If Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the history of the world would have been rewritten.

    If Cleopatra's nose had been flatter, the history of the world would have been rewritten.
    Either sentence is grammatical, although, as assertions, both would probably be considered bizarre by most people!

    I'm unclear about the focus of your query: are you enquiring specifically about conditional sentences, or simply about what kind of adjective can collocate with the noun 'nose'??

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    #7

    Re: had been + p.p.

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    Either sentence is grammatical, although, as assertions, both would probably be considered bizarre by most people!
    Pensées : Le nez de Cléopâtre, s'il eût été plus court, toute la face de la terre aurait changé.

    The nose of Cleopatra, if it had been shorter, would have changed all the face of the earth’
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Blaise_Pascal

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    #8

    Re: had been + p.p.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnson_F View Post
    Pensées : Le nez de Cléopâtre, s'il eût été plus court, toute la face de la terre aurait changé.

    The nose of Cleopatra, if it had been shorter, would have changed all the face of the earth’
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Blaise_Pascal
    I can see how history might have been different if Cleopatra's nose had been shorter (assuming that Mark Antony liked long noses, etc.) But I think Pascal was wrong in claiming that, had Cleopatra's nose been shorter, history would have changed.
    But that's a point of logic or semantics, not grammar. Does it make more sense in the original?

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    #9

    Re: had been + p.p.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    . Does it make more sense in the original?
    It makes sense to me in both the original and the English. I take it to be a whimsical thought, meaning something like: "If Cleo had been less attractive to M.A. and J.C., the two Romans might not have fought, J.C, might not have been assassinated, there might never have been a Roman Empire, ... etc". The writer below interprets the significance of the dimensions of the pharaonic proboscis somewhat differently, but the argument would be the same: the fate of nations can hang on tiny things.

    In the Pensées, Pascal remarks "Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed". Ironically, what he means is that, had her nose been smaller, she would have lacked the dominance and strength of character which, in the physiognomy of the seventeenth century (or, indeed, the nineteenth century), a large nose symbolized. It is a salutary reminder that the aesthetics of beauty change over time and place.
    From The Beauty of Cleopatra

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    #10

    Re: had been + p.p.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I don't have a problem interpreting that to mean the history of the world TO DATE. I don't infer it means all of "history" is over. Was that your first impression?
    I'm thinking or rethinking. Later

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