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    #1

    What tense do I use for the phrase in red?

    I am going to make up an example below.

    (ex) Tom accidentally tore his favorite poem apart. Fortunately, he noticed it before dumping it. He is very sad about that. I say to him, "At least, you still have the poem even though it has been destroyed. That's better than if _____ into the garbage can."

    I am a little unsure about the correct tense to use for the phrase in red. I have a few possible ways of filling in the blank.

    (1) if you dumped it into the garbage can
    (2) if you had dumped it into the garbage can
    (3) if it is dumped into the garbage can
    (4) if it has been dumped into the garbage can
    (5) if it had been dumped into the garbage can

    They all sound OK to me. Do you think they all work? Please help me. Thank you very much.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What tense do I use for the phrase in red?

    How does one accidentally tear a poem apart?

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What tense do I use for the phrase in red?

    I would say 'That's better than having dumped it into the garbage can', but I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: What tense do I use for the phrase in red?

    I would use 2 or 5. Matthew's suggestion also works.

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: What tense do I use for the phrase in red?

    Quote Originally Posted by robjenrobjen View Post
    I am a little unsure about the correct tense
    I think the past perfect should be used in an if-clause referring to the past, but I am not a teacher.

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