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  1. #1

    WILL HAVE + V-EN vs HAVE + V-EN, and WERE

    Hello,

    May I ask you if you think the following sentence is wrong (the writer is supposed to be assessing France's situation in the past year ) :

    "Once more France will have behaved out of step, plagued by a severe crisis of collective gloom. The blues was the shape assumed by this much celebrated ‘French exception’ in 1996. As a great pessimistic people, proud, and not at all self-assured, the French will have endured the year as if it were a nightmare."

    And in that case, would you say the following (with present perfect froms instead of WILL HAVE + V-EN) is the only solution :

    ("Once more France has behaved out of step, plagued by a severe crisis of collective gloom (...) ; As a great pessimistic people, proud, and not at all self-assured, the French have endured the year as if it were a nightmare." )

    Lastly, could anyone explain to me why as if it were a nightmare sounds right (to me at least, but maybe I am wrong) whereas AS IF IT HAD BEEN a nightmare would seem to be required because of backshift. (Past events are being referred to).

    (Is the past subjunctive form of BE equivalent to "two successive preterits" in such cases ? But again, WERE is to be found in sentences featuring the present tense, isn't it ? (e.g.: You are talking to her as if she were a child).

    Many thanks in advance for whatever help you could provide me with.

  2. #2

    Re: WILL HAVE + V-EN vs HAVE + V-EN, and WERE

    will have behaved instead of has behaved is grammatical, although I think it's rather unusual style, especially for journalistic register. Perhaps the writer wanted to convey the inevitability (in layman's terms, the "I told you so") of the events.

    As for the backshift, it is an issue where you can gather 100 native speakers and you'll get all the possible replies. Actually, I remember having read a relevant study and the result was that strict backshift is used more by non native speakers than native ones.

  3. #3

    Re: WILL HAVE + V-EN vs HAVE + V-EN, and WERE

    Thank you very much for that, Mariner.

    I was asking that question in connection with French-to-English translation.

    In French, the use of the "futur antérieur" - the syntactic equivalent of WILL HAVE + V-EN - is sometimes stylistic rather than temporal, and - yes, it was in an passage taken from a newspaper article that I was faced with the problem. I will probably tell the pupils that in this context, the use of WILL HAVE + V-EN is acceptable, but stylistically marked.

    I hate to ask this, but, regarding backshift, do you know if there exists some "received" usage in spite of the 100 different views you rightly mention ?

  4. #4

    Re: WILL HAVE + V-EN vs HAVE + V-EN, and WERE

    Any other suggestions as to

    The French have endured the past year as if it were a nightmare

    vs

    The French have endured the past year as if it had been a nightmare ?

    ?

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: WILL HAVE + V-EN vs HAVE + V-EN, and WERE

    Quote Originally Posted by Mariner View Post
    will have behaved instead of has behaved is grammatical, although I think it's rather unusual style, especially for journalistic register. Perhaps the writer wanted to convey the inevitability (in layman's terms, the "I told you so") of the events.//
    I agree - it's a stylistic ploy to emphasize that similar things have happened before, and that France's will be true to type.

    Ont the nightmare point, I'd regard the nightmare as being contemporaneous with the enduring, so I wouldn't backshift. Compare

    The French have endured the past year as if it were a nightmare

    with

    The French have endured the past year as if their experience during the Vichy years had led them to expect something different.

    b

  6. #6

    Re: WILL HAVE + V-EN vs HAVE + V-EN, and WERE

    Thanks a lot, BobK. It makes sense.

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