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  1. #1
    azz is offline Member
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    before it could hit the window

    Can one say
    a. John killed the hired killer before he killed John.
    b. John killed the hired killer before he could kill John.

    c. I caught the tennis ball before it hit the window.
    d. I caught the tennis ball before it could hit the window.

    ?

    The assumption is that John was not killed by the hired killer and the tennis ball did not hit the window.

    Many thanks.

  2. #2
    andrewg927 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: before it could hit the window

    A and B are not okay. They are very confusing because of kill, kill and kill. C and D are okay. I don't like D because of the extra word "could".

  3. #3
    azz is offline Member
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    Re: before it could hit the window

    Thank you so much,

    How about
    e. She killed him before he killed her.
    ?

    Would you consider that acceptable. (She wasn't killed because she killed him.)

    Many thanks.

  4. #4
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: before it could hit the window

    Quote Originally Posted by azz View Post
    Thank you so much.

    How about this?

    e. She killed him before he killed her.

    Would you consider that acceptable? (She wasn't killed because she killed him.)

    Many thanks.
    That's OK.

    For your first sentence, try using some synonyms.

    John killed the hitman who had been hired to murder him.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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