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    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 4
    #1

    The conditional in past hypothetical situations

    Hi everybody,
    I need your help. While reviewing an old grammar textbook if found the following exercise:

    Phoebe must've loved William Golding very much. Otherwise, she......the army to be with him.

    a.- Had no joined.
    b.- would not join.
    c.- would no have joined.


    As backgound, Pheobe did joined the army (regarding the stoty written on the book) . I know for sure that option b is not correct.

    Thank you,

  1. AlainK
    Guest
    #2

    Re: The conditional in past hypothetical situations

    Hello,

    "Had no joined" sounds very odd to me, but I'm not a native (no straw skirt or bone in the nose)...

    I'd say "no" in c/ must be a typo : "would not have joined" would sound correct to me.

    b/ (would not join) would imply that 1/ William Golding is still in the army, 2/ that Phoebe doesn't love him any longer, but still, that's the reason why she joined the army.

    Trying to stay away from gender-based cliché, I wouldn't choose that one...

    Alain

    • Member Info
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    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585
    #3

    Re: The conditional in past hypothetical situations

    Hello Kokopollo

    You can replace "otherwise" with an if-clause, and rephrase the example as follows:

    1. Phoebe must have loved WG very much. If she had not loved WG very much, she _____ joined the army to be with him.

    Now you can see the structure (I've removed the "nots" to make it simpler):

    2. If X had happened, Y ____ happened.

    In this type of conditional, we have two common choices:

    2a. If X had happened, Y would now be happening.
    2b. If X had happened, Y would have happened.

    We know that sentence 1 isn't similar to 2a, because it deals with imaginary past consequences, whereas 2a deals with imaginary present consequences. Thus it must be the 2b structure:

    3. Phoebe must have loved WG very much. If she had not loved WG very much, she would not have joined the army to be with him.

    Note that it should be "would not have", not "would no have".

    I should add that in older forms of English (pre-19th century), it was grammatical to use "had" instead of "would have". Therefore if the question had been set 200 years ago, the answer would have been:

    4. If she had not loved WG very much, she had not joined the army to be with him.

    However, this form is no longer used, and so should be avoided.

    MrP


    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 4
    #4

    Re: The conditional in past hypothetical situations

    Thank you so much, guys.
    And by the way, of course it isn't no but not. It was a typing mistake .
    Best Regards,
    Jorge

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