LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||20/DEZ/2006 10:50 PM|
|Assunto:||Third conditional no problem|
Thanks for your kind words Dale - been lying low - if you check a few psdeudonyms you can probaly match the writing/paragraphing style - not that I'm suggesting you should waste your time when you can better employ it giving valuable advice to the forum participants. BTW liked your info about the Phillipines - I had just been there to visit a friend in Manilla - be da? Was uncanny to focus on the language - i regreted not 'buffing up' a bit more before I went - they're on typhoon 5 for the season up in Luzon - a tragedy
Regarding the phrase: 3 points:
1) use of "had been" would certainly be (have been??) more conventional and probably occur at a higher frequency - it also fits (would have fitted??) the received pattern (which we discussed)
2) In analysing any phrase the primary consideration is the speaker's perspective / what the speaker is attempting to say (communicate) - in this example the first clause contains "I" where the second clause refers to "third person action".
In this example the essence of the meaning of the first clause is "I would not do such a thing (in the present / past / future / any time". Who's to say the speaker is only refering to what the third person did in Brazil back then (in which case perfect aspect - "had been" would seem more appropriate)?
Maybe the speaker is referring to what happened but by using the chosen verb sets out a general principle regarding what they would (not) do in similar circumstances (in which case why use the perfect aspect and thereby embed the view in the past and in relation to the specific instance being referred to?)
This is the flexibility inherent in the 2 tense, 2 aspect plus modal structure.
3) The perfect aspect in relation to past events is often "optional". It is not optional where the sequence of past events is integral to a speaker's meaning.
Hence the occasional discussions about "Will the (so-called) past perfect become extinct?
The use of the perfect aspect in relation to past events will never fall into disuse as long as there is a sequence of past events to talk about.
In many other instances of 'more-than-one' past event (where the sequence is not important) the use of the perfect aspect will remain largely optional, especially given that adverbs carry so much of the time sequencing burden in English (to compensate for the essentially non-temporal verb)
Stick to the conventional structure but alert yourself to the possibilities
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