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    #1

    Question Were to happen after I left

    If anything were to happen after I left, I would feel responsible.

    For the above sentence, I can understand why 'were' is in past tense but I cannot understand why use 'left' instead of 'leave'. Could anyone explain?
    Thank you!

    JY

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  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Were to happen after I left

    If you changed "would" to "will", "leave" would be correct.
    If you change "would" to "will", leave will be correct.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Were to happen after I left

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiayun View Post
    If anything were to happen after I left, I would feel responsible.
    'Left' should be used because it is used in conjunction with the past subjunctive 'were to' in the second conditional, is it correct or not?

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    #4

    Re: Were to happen after I left

    I do not think that is the reason why left is used.

    In fact, you can simply take out the phrase "anything were to happen after" so that the sentence will be "If I left, I would feel responsible." which is a typical conditional sentence. However, the use of past tense here is quite weird as its usage is for describing something which is not true at the moment but "anything were to happen" is hypothetical and could be true.

    Therefore, I believe the present tense of the conditional sentence should be used instead.
    Thank you!

    JY

    I am not a teacher

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Were to happen after I left

    The present conditional would not work there.

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    #6

    Re: Were to happen after I left

    On second thought, "anything were to happen" is also a conditional sentence in past tense which should mean something untrue at the moment.

    I have to say that this sentence structure is complicated and I would like to call it double conditional as there is a conditional phrase within a conditional sentence.
    Last edited by Jiayun; 26-Sep-2014 at 09:12.
    Thank you!

    JY

    I am not a teacher

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Were to happen after I left

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiayun View Post
    you can simply take out the phrase "anything were to happen after" so that the sentence will be "If I left, I would feel responsible." which is a typical conditional sentence.
    I think otherwise. You can simply omit 'after I left', then it will be 'If anything were to happen, I would feel responsible', which is the second conditional and whose meaning seems more correct.

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    #8

    Re: Were to happen after I left

    Yes, this should be my original thinking and that is why I was puzzled when I saw the word "leave" used in the past tense.
    Thank you!

    JY

    I am not a teacher

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Were to happen after I left

    'After I leave, if anything were to happen, I would feel responsible.'
    Is it correct to use the simple present 'leave' which is not in the 'if' clause?

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  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Were to happen after I left

    It seems to me that the underlined part is a simple subjunctive. "If anything happened (were to happen) after I left, I'd feel responsible." The rest is conditional.

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