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Dear MrP,

This is one passage you sent me taken from the book. I put the verbs in the infinitive and tried to find the right tenses again.

If you wouldn't mind, I would like you to tell me if, without other context, the tenses / prepositions in capital letters are possible. The tenses in brackets are the original ones.

… Phineas, as he heard this, remembered former days in which he 1 (had ridden) / HAD BEEN RIDING / USED TO RIDE (?) about Saulsby Woods, and 2 (had thought) / THOUGHT (= he remembered and thought ?) them to be anything but hateful. “Is Saulsby shut up?” he asked.
“Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You 3 (would find) / b) WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now. He 4 (was) / b) WILL BE here in the spring, for a week or two — in England, that is; but he 5 (stayed) / b) WILL STAY / WILL BE STAYING 6 (at) / IN an hotel in London. He and Laura 7 (live) / ARE LIVING 8 (at) / IN Dresden now, and a very sad time they 9 (must have) / MUST BE HAVING.”

“Does she write?”
“Yes; and keeps up all her interest about politics. I have already told her that you are to stand for Tankerville. No one, no other human being in the world, 10 (will be) / WOULD BE / IS (?) so interested for you as she is. If any friend ever felt an interest almost selfish for a friend’s welfare, she 11 (will feel) / WOULD FEEL such an interest for you. If you were to succeed it would give her a hope in life.” Phineas 12 (sat) / WAS SITTING silent, drinking in the words that were said to him. If they were true, or at least meant to be true, they were full of flattery. Why should this woman of whom they were speaking love him so dearly? She was nothing 13 (to) / FOR him. She was highly born, greatly gifted, wealthy, and a married woman, whose character, as he well knew, was beyond the taint of suspicion, though she had been driven by the hard sullenness of her husband to refuse to live under his roof. Phineas Finn and Lady Laura Kennedy had not seen each other for two years, and when they 14 (had parted) / PARTED, though they 15 (had lived) / HAD BEEN LIVING / LIVED as friends, there 16 (had been) / WERE no signs of still living friendship. […] Now he 17 (was told) / WAS BEING TOLD by this woman’s dearest friend that his welfare was closer to her heart than any other interest!

“I dare say you always think of her?” said Lady Chiltern.
“Indeed, I do.”

“What virtues she used to ascribe to you! What sins she forgave you! How hard she fought for you! Now, though she can fight no more, she does not think of it all the less.” (WHAT DOES “IT” REFER TO ?)

“Poor Lady Laura!”
“Poor Laura, indeed! When one sees such shipwreck it makes a woman doubt 18 (whether) / IF she 19 (ought to marry) / SHOULD / MUST / HAD TO MARRY at all.”

Thank you very much for your help,
Hela
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Comments  
Hello Hela

That's a good idea.

These are the ones that don't work:

1. 'used to ride' is almost ok; but it doesn't quite work.
13. No, it has to be 'to'!
15. 'had been' is fine; but not 'lived'.
19. Not 'must' or 'had to'.

'It': I think this refers to Lady Laura's political machinations on Phineas's behalf.

Well done!

MrP
Thank you VERY much, MrP. Emotion: big smile

Sorry, I still have more questions about the alternatives. Example:

1“Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You a) would find [original] / b) WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now.

a) Now, did the author use the conditional would find him because his character thought that Mr Finn had a SMALL chance to see Mr Kennedy since he is living in Germany?

b) And if I write WILL FIND would it mean that Mr Finn does have a chance to see him in the future? (= more likely and less doubtful ?)

c) and can the verb/tense WILL FIND work in combination with the past? i.e.
WILL FIND + WAS here... but STAYED..." i.e.

" Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now. He was here in the spring, for a week or two — in England, that is; but he stayed at an hotel in London. He and Laura live at Dresden now, and a very sad time they must have / MUST BE HAVING.”

d) Do you think that it will work best with :
"He WILL BE here... but he WILL STAY / WILL BE STAYING / IS STAYING in London."

e) or do the 2 passages have no relation with one another / are quite independent from one another?

2) In “No one, no other human being in the world, will be so interested for you as she is.” [original text]

a) If we consider the auxiliary used at the end of the sentence “is”, the normal guess would be IS in the first clause. Right ?

b) Now, the choices of will be [original tense] (likely action in the future ?) and WOULD BE (possible action in the future ?) should not affect the auxiliary used in the second clause “IS”, should it ?

3) Same question about “WOULD FEEL” in “If any friend ever felt an interest almost selfish for a friend’s welfare, she WOULD FEEL such an interest for you.” [original = “will feel” = mixed conditional = 2 + 1]

a) “WOULD FEEL” would mean that at that moment of speaking the speaker was not sure if Mrs Kennedy was interested in Mr Finn’s future in politics. Right ?

b) but with “WILL FEEL” the speaker is sure of Mrs Kennedy’s feeling and interest for Mr Finn. Right ? (I’d like to understand the subtlety between both tenses)

4) What about the “WILL” form in the following sentence, can it be accepted ? i.e.
“If you were to succeed it WILL GIVE her a hope in life.” [the text gives “would give” = type 2 conditional]

a) is the mixed conditional possible here or not ?
= the speaker is not sure that Mr Finn is going to succeed but if ever this happened he is sure of Mrs Kennedy’s reaction.

b) type 2 conditional =
since the speaker doesn’t think that Mr Finn will succeed, he knows therefore that Mrs Kennedy is never going to have such a hope.

5) After a long thought, I wonder if I can really use PARTED and WERE in the following sentence. If ever you think it possible, would you please tell me why?

a) Original = “They hadn't seen each other for..., and when they had parted (before the time of narration), though they had lived or HAD BEEN LIVING, there had been (at that same time) no signs of still living friendship.”

b) so what is the logic when we write :
“They hadn't seen each other for..., and when they PARTED, though they had lived, there WERE no signs of still living friendship.”

Sorry to bother you again and I know that I’m splitting hairs, “je cherche la petite bête” but I want to understand the logic in the use of tenses.

Thank you for your patience,
Hela
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Sorry, Hela, I've only just arrived at your post! Will ponder and reply tomorrow.

Sleep well.
MrP
Hello Hela

1“Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You a) would find [original] / b) WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now.

a) Now, did the author use the conditional would find him because his character thought that Mr Finn had a SMALL chance to see Mr Kennedy since he is living in Germany?
— It might be easier to think of this as an implicit IF statement: 'You would find him altered, Mr Finn [if you were to see him]'.

b) And if I write WILL FIND would it mean that Mr Finn does have a chance to see him in the future? (= more likely and less doubtful ?)
— Yes; it means the speaker expects Mr Finn to see Kennedy.

c) and can the verb/tense WILL FIND work in combination with the past? i.e.
WILL FIND + WAS here... but STAYED..." i.e.

" Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You WILL FIND him altered, Mr Finn. He is quite an old man now. He was here in the spring, for a week or two — in England, that is; but he stayed at an hotel in London. [He and Laura live at Dresden now, and a very sad time they must have / MUST BE HAVING.” ]
— It works if you exclude the part I've put in square brackets. The speaker expresses an expectation that Mr Finn will see Kennedy; then gives additional information about K's recent doings. However, if you add the part in square brackets, it implies that Mr Finn doesn't know where K. and Laura are living, till the speaker tells him; and that seems strange, given that the speaker also expects Mr Finn to see K. shortly!

d) Do you think that it will work best with :
"He WILL BE here... but he WILL STAY / WILL BE STAYING / IS STAYING in London."
— 'Will be staying' is fine; but perhaps 'will stay' would better suit the speaker's style.

In this instance, the speaker expects Mr Finn to see K. shortly; but has to tell Finn where K. will be staying. A possible context might be: Mr Finn has expressed his determination to see K., but has also revealed that he has no idea when K. will next come to England, or where he will stay.

e) or do the 2 passages have no relation with one another / are quite independent from one another?
— I think possible contexts could be found, whether or not we linked the sentences.

2) In “No one, no other human being in the world, will be so interested for you as she is.” [original text]

a) If we consider the auxiliary used at the end of the sentence “is”, the normal guess would be IS in the first clause. Right ?
— Yes, I would say so.

b) Now, the choices of will be [original tense] (likely action in the future ?) and WOULD BE (possible action in the future ?) should not affect the auxiliary used in the second clause “IS”, should it ?
— To my ears, this combines 3 senses of 'will':
i) intends to (be)
ii) is accustomed to (be)
iii) will prove to (be)

'would' would make the statement more remote and so less emphatic.

In both cases, 'is' would be fine.

3) Same question about “WOULD FEEL” in “If any friend ever felt an interest almost selfish for a friend’s welfare, she WOULD FEEL such an interest for you.” [original = “will feel” = mixed conditional = 2 + 1]
— I'm not sure the original is a mixed conditional, as the verb in the IF clause seems to me to be an indicative past tense, rather than a 'hypothetical' (subjunctive) past tense. But I'll have to think about this one a little more, as I'm not sure I can explain it even to myself at the moment...

a) “WOULD FEEL” would mean that at that moment of speaking the speaker was not sure if Mrs Kennedy was interested in Mr Finn’s future in politics. Right ?

b) but with “WILL FEEL” the speaker is sure of Mrs Kennedy’s feeling and interest for Mr Finn. Right ? (I’d like to understand the subtlety between both tenses)
— Will ponder and report back tomorrow on these two questions...

4) What about the “WILL” form in the following sentence, can it be accepted ? i.e.
“If you were to succeed it WILL GIVE her a hope in life.” [the text gives “would give” = type 2 conditional]

a) is the mixed conditional possible here or not ?
= the speaker is not sure that Mr Finn is going to succeed but if ever this happened he is sure of Mrs Kennedy’s reaction.
— A mixed conditional of this kind is certainly possible in ordinary spoken English, as people often change their conditionals in mid sentence; but I don't think it suits the situation here.

b) type 2 conditional =
since the speaker doesn’t think that Mr Finn will succeed, he knows therefore that Mrs Kennedy is never going to have such a hope.
— I read the 'if you were to V, it would V2' structure as fairly neutral, in terms of what the speaker expects to happen. This kind of type 2 distances the speaker from the hypothesis; but to my ears, it always has an air of 'fine balancing of the possibilities'.

5) After a long thought, I wonder if I can really use PARTED and WERE in the following sentence. If ever you think it possible, would you please tell me why?

a) Original = “They hadn't seen each other for..., and when they had parted (before the time of narration), though they had lived or HAD BEEN LIVING, there had been (at that same time) no signs of still living friendship.”

b) so what is the logic when we write :
“They hadn't seen each other for..., and when they PARTED, though they had lived, there WERE no signs of still living friendship.”
— You could think of it in this sense – I've changed it to bring out the logic:
"When we bumped into each other at the Savoy last week, it was the first time we had seen each other for 10 years. When we got divorced, you see, although we had been married for 12 years, there were no children; and so we had no reason to see each other."

(Or have I misunderstood the question?)

Will return to deal with that other petite bête (#3) tomorrow!

Bye for now,
MrP
OK, I'll wait patiently until you find an explanation for question 3Emotion: smile

In the meantime, if instead of writing "sat, drinking in the words..." I use "sitting" should I say:

a) He was sitting silent, drinking in the words that were told to him. OR

b) He was sitting silentLY, drinking in the words... ?

Many thanks,
Hela
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Hmm. I think I would say:

c) He was sitting in silence, drinking in her words.

'He sat silent' seems ok; but 'he was sitting silent' doesn't seem right. The combination of progressive tense + adjective strikes me as odd.

Back to Q3:

"If any friend ever felt an interest almost selfish for a friend’s welfare, she will feel such an interest for you.”

Yes, I would take the past tense as indicative. It's a literal past, rather than the past-expressing-remoteness that we find in a type 2 conditional.

To simplify:

1. If anyone ever felt X, she will feel X for you => If it is the case that Feeling X exists, she will experience Feeling X.

So I wouldn't call it a mixed conditional; I'd say it belongs to the same class of IF statement as these:

2. If it was dark, you couldn't possibly have seen the face of the man in question.
3. If Laura has arrived, she'll be with Mr Finn in the conservatory.
4. If Mr Finn was fond of Laura, he had a very strange way of showing it.

With this kind of IF statement, the purpose of the main clause is to express an inference drawn from the IF clause.

So I would say that 'would' wouldn't work here!

MrP
Thank you VERY much MrP, I'll read all that very carefully.

See you soon,
Hela
I read your comments and there is one thing I still can't understand:
1. If anyone ever felt X, she will feel X for you => If it is the case that Feeling X exists, she will experience Feeling X. So I wouldn't call it a mixed conditional.


If “If anyone ever FELT / HAD such an interest for a friend” means “if it IS the case that a person HAS such an interest for a friend” why didn’t the author say “If anyone HAS ever FELT… , she WILL FEEL…” ? like in (3) :
3. If Laura has arrived, she will be with Mr Finn in the conservatory.


which is a normal type 1 conditional: (if + present perfect) in the subordinate clause + (future) in the main clause.

So if the original sentence is not a mixed conditional, I still don’t understand why the author is using the simple past to refer to a present situation. Because if we look at examples 2 & 4 the simple past refers to 2 true past actions: in (2) the fact that it was really dark then:
2. If it was dark, you couldn't possibly have seen the face of the man in question.


and in (4) the fact that Mr Finn was really in love with Laura:
4. If Mr Finn was fond of Laura, he had a very strange way of showing it.


Sorry to keep bothering you with my "tortuous" questions...Emotion: embarrassed

See you tomorrow, peharps.
Hela
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