Hi,
I am describing something that didn't happen in the past using past perfect tense. The case is that some scientists did not make up scientific data that seemed more acceptable to the others. There are three sentences for this purpose. Which of them is/are correct?
(i) If the scientists had not been honest, they would have made up data that seems more acceptable to the others.
(ii) If the scientists had not been honest, they would have made up data that would have seemed more acceptable to the others.

(iii) If the scientists had not been honest, they would have made up data that seemed more acceptable to the others.

Thank you in advance.
David
Hi, I am describing something that didn't happen in the past using past perfect tense. The case is that some scientists did not make up scientific data that seemed more acceptable to the others.

If they didn't make it up, then how can you say that "it seemed more acceptable to the others", whoever "the others" (probably other scientists in the field)? This requires "data that would have {been / appeared } more acceptable".
There are three sentences for this purpose. Which of them is/are correct? (i) If the scientists had not been honest, ... If the scientists had not been honest, they would have made up data that seemed more acceptable to the others.

I'd go with #3. I don't know the full context, but I'd say that "seemed" would be better as "was" or "appeared", and that "the others" is either unnecessary or should be replaced by "their colleagues" unless, of course, "the others" refers to a specifc group of others already named "the others" in the text.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
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Whilst agreeing with all of the above, I'd point out that versions 2 and 3 are essentially equivalent. In 3, the repeated auxiliaries "would have" are simply elided.

Mark Barratt
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> Hi,
> I am describing something that didn't happen in the past > using past perfect tense. The case is that some scientists did > not make up scientific data that seemed more acceptable to the > others.
If they didn't make it up, then how can you say that "it seemed more acceptable to the others", whoever "the others" (probably other scientists in the field)? This requires "data that would have {been / appeared } more acceptable".

Yes, "the others" are other scientists in the field. May I ask why should "appeared" but not "seemed" be used here? Do they (appeared and seemed) the same thing here?
> There are three sentences for this purpose. Which > of them is/are correct?
> (i) If the scientists had not been honest, they would have made > up data that seems more acceptable to the others.

> (ii) If the scientists had not been honest, they would have made > up data that would have seemed more acceptable to the others.

> (iii) If the scientists had not been honest, they would have made > up data that seemed more acceptable to the others.

I'd go with #3. I don't know the full context, but I'd say that "seemed" would be better as "was" or "appeared", and that "the others" is either unnecessary or should be replaced by "their colleagues" unless, of course, "the others" refers to a specifc group of others already named "the others" in the text.
Do you mean "seemed" would be better than "was" or "appeared"?

"The others" here are other scientists in the same field. They may not work in the same place.
David

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
: > Hi, : > : > I am describing something that didn't happen in the past : > using ... I ask why should "appeared" but not "seemed" be used here? Do they (appeared and seemed) the same thing here?

This is strictly a personal stylistic choice that I can't defend with anything other than a native-speaker feeling. They are essentially equivalent in meaning, but I prefer "appear" to "seem" in this sentence. That's what I meant by "".
: > There are three sentences for this purpose. Which : > of them is/are correct? : > : > ... of others already named "the others" in the text. Do you mean "seemed" would be better than "was" or "appeared"?

No, this is an idiomatic way of saying that "it would be better if 'seemed' were replaced with 'were' or 'appeared'."
"The others" here are other scientists in the same field. They may not work in the same place.

In that case, I'd drop "the others" or replace it with "their colleagues" or simply "colleagues".

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
I'd go with #3. I don't know the full context, ... group of others already named "the others" in the text.

Whilst agreeing with all of the above, I'd point out that versions 2 and 3 are essentially equivalent. In 3, the repeated auxiliaries "would have" are simply elided.

Version 1 would only work if it were about data that was real not hypothetical. So one could say:
"If the scientists had not been honest, they would have used the data that seems more acceptable to the others."

which assumes there is some such data
(let's ignore those sticklers who'd insist "data" is a plural noun).

The following also works:
"If the scientists had not been honest, they would have made up data that would seem more acceptable to the others"

Here the acceptability of the hypothetical data is something that is on-going rather than just an acceptability at a time in the past.

I agree version 3 has an elided repeated "would have".

In all these examples, "If the scientists had not been honest, ..." is acceptable, but I think "Had the scientists not been honest, ..." is more elegant.

Matthew Huntbach
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