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    #1

    had not undertaken / does not undertake

    Hello teachers,

    Greetings!

    I have a question with regard to tense in the following sentence:

    Such a values-based approach would stand in the way of closer EU–China economic relations as long as China had not undertaken fundamental political reform, which the present Chinese leadership is not contemplating.

    Is the italicized verb form correct? Should it not be does not undertake?

    (The book is in the manuscript stage. It is about politics and is written very well, by a native speaker.)

    Thank you very much.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: had not undertaken / does not undertake

    It means basically the same. "It won't work if China does not undertake reform." This is looking to the future.
    "It won't work if China has not undertaken reform." This is looking at the situation from the hypothetical time that the approach is tried.
    Similar:
    1. "You won't pass if you don't study." Viewing the situation now.
    2. "You won't pass if you haven't studied." Viewing the situation from the future, when you take the exam.

  2. Roman55's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: had not undertaken / does not undertake

    Except it isn't, 'China has not undertaken', it's, 'China had not undertaken'.

    I think that is wrong.
    I am not a teacher

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: had not undertaken / does not undertake

    Yes, though my examples didn't use 'would'.

    "You won't pass your exam if you haven't studied."
    "You wouldn't pass you exam if you hadn't studied."
    "The approach won't work if China has not undertaken reform."
    "The approach wouldn't work if China had not undertaken reform." Cognate of the original.

  4. Roman55's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: had not undertaken / does not undertake

    The original is wrong, IMO. The situation under discussion is current, as evidenced by the last clause, 'which the present Chinese leadership is not contemplating.'

    'Such a values-based approach will stand in the way of closer EU–China economic relations as long as China does not undertake fundamental political reform…', is OK as a description of a current reality.

    'Such a values-based approach would stand in the way of closer EU–China economic relations until China undertook fundamental political reform…', would be OK as a description of a past state of affairs.
    I am not a teacher

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: had not undertaken / does not undertake

    I'd say "has not undertaken" or "does not undertake."

    "Had not undertaken" is wrong. It shifts away from the present tense of the first part, so it makes no sense.

    Good question, LaMelange!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: had not undertaken / does not undertake

    It's fine, as long as you take 'as long as' to mean 'provided that, on condition that, if', a meaning given in several dictionaries at www.onelook.com.

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    #8

    Re: had not undertaken / does not undertake

    It's wrong. It doesn't make sense. The book hasn't been proofed yet.

  7. Piscean's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: had not undertaken / does not undertake

    It makes sense to me. It seems to make sense to Raymott.

  8. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: had not undertaken / does not undertake

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    It's fine, as long as you take 'as long as' to mean 'provided that, on condition that, if', a meaning given in several dictionaries at www.onelook.com.
    Hm. I see what you mean. I'd be happier with "provided that," exactly because of the confusion that "as long as" creates.

    Jutfrank is right. Send it back for some real editing!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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