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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 46

    Should we use past perfect?

    "Twenty years ago, it would have been big news if dogs bit their masters."
    Hi, does this sentence sound natural and grammatically correct? Should it change it to "had bitten"?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Greek
      • Home Country:
      • Greece
      • Current Location:
      • Greece

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 84

    Re: Should we use past perfect?

    It's just fine as it is. "If they had bitten" would sound as if they had bitten them only once.

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 46

    Re: Should we use past perfect?

    Thanks aggelos!
    I thought "bit" didn't work because of mis-coordination with the conditional mood in the main clause.


    would have been --> past conditional
    bit --> simple past [which I thought should be changed into "past perfect" in order to coordinate]

    I thought the original quoted sentence looks as though the if-clause were referring to the present while the main clause is referring to the past.
    Last edited by nyugaton; 23-Dec-2007 at 13:05.

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