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  1. #1
    Gunner1999 is offline Junior Member
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    He could have kicked him, because he had insulted him vs insulted him

    Hi. Can I use the past perfect before modal verbs?
    1. He might have kicked him, because he had insulted him.
    2. He might have kicked him, because he insulted him.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: He could have kicked him, because he had insulted him vs insulted him

    I think you mean after modal verbs. I don't know if there's a general rule here, but both your sentences are possible if you remove the commas.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. #3
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    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: He could have kicked him, because he had insulted him vs insulted him

    Those sentences are potentially ambiguous. Who kicked/insulted who?

    Also, note that "might/could have" can be used for an imaginary (unreal) past action. It's often used as an imaginary (unreal/impossible) suggestion.
    She could/might have said something to her boyfriend when she had the chance. [She didn't say anything to her boyfriend.]

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