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  1. man of manners's Avatar
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    #1

    a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    hi
    I have a very confusing question.
    choose the correct answer and provide evidence if possible:
    If he (won/had won) the cup after he had played the match, I'd have been happy with him
    ...about this sentence, I'll make it easy for you:

    I'll simplify the answer and you only need to show your approval or disapproval towards my answer - and of course if you have a new answer, it's welcome.

    My answer is "won" and the evidence is just a logical explanation.

    Note the following:

    the past perfect after "if" is the Past Perfect Subjunctive but it's not a tense. It's ,in fact, an unreal tense and it indicates a situation different from what had already happened.

    In usual if-clauses, we use only one verb in the if-clause but in such sentences we are using a conjunction that requires a certain sequence of tenses that cannot be ignored, so this sequence of tenses must be applied even in the if-clause, and the past perfect doesn't necessarily follow the "if" conjunction immediately as long as another sequence of tenses must be applied.

    Also, we must notice that the conjunction "after" and its two sentences are all part of the if-clause so we haven't broken any rules as we have already used the past perfect - not immediately after "if" as usual but this time after "after" which is part of the if-clause.

    I hope I have limited the possible answers now.
    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by man of manners; 19-Jul-2016 at 13:02. Reason: punctuation

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    #2

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    I'm afraid your sentence needs the past perfect.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    "If he (won/had won) the cup after he had played the match, I'd have been happy with him"

    My answer is "had won". "... after he had played the match" isn't relevant. The question reduces to:
    "I would have been happy with him, if he (won/had won) the match. The only possible choice is "had won".

  3. man of manners's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Thanks very much. I appreciate your answers.
    But this ignored the sequence of tenses with "after". Shouldn't only the first action be used in the past perfect?
    Please, I need some explanation.
    Last edited by man of manners; 19-Jul-2016 at 13:03. Reason: punctuation

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    I think the explanation is that the sequence of tenses can simply be ignored because 'after' has already established the time sequence.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. man of manners's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I think the explanation is that the sequence of tenses can simply be ignored because 'after' has already established the time sequence.
    But as far as I know, the past perfect is only used after "after" not in the main clause .If you have any evidence, please, provide it

  6. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    If he (won/had won) the cup after he had played the match, I'd have been happy with him .

    The clause in green is the main clause.

    The clause in blue is subordinate to the main clause. The past perfect denotes an irrealis past situation.

    The clause in red is subordinate to the blue clause. The past perfect denotes a previous past-time situation. Because the word 'after' makes the sequence of events clear, we could use just a past simple, 'played'.

  7. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    If he had won the cup after he played the match, I'd have been happy with him.
    After he played the match, if he had won the cup, I'd have been happy with him.
    I am not a teacher.

  8. man of manners's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    I agree, Piscean.
    but what should we use in the if-clause?
    Last edited by man of manners; 19-Jul-2016 at 13:04. Reason: punctuation

  9. Piscean's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: a very confusing sentence concerning the third conditional of "if"

    The past perfect for an irrealis past situation.

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