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If you want to use the inclined plane to help you move an object, then you have to move the object over a longer distance to get to the desired height than if you had started from directly below and moved upward.


Q) Why do you think the writer used the underlined part instead of "start"?

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The perfect conditional (would have started) cannot be used in an if-clause. The past perfect subjunctive (had started) is used instead.

CB

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moon7296

If you want to use the inclined plane to help you move an object, then you have to move the object over a longer distance to get to the desired height than if you had started from directly below and moved upward. Q) Why do you think the writer used the underlined part instead of "start"?

I've no idea.

"Had started" is fine, and so is "start" provided you change "moved" to "move".

Incidentally, "had started" is not subjunctive, but past perfect tense.

BillJIncidentally, "had started" is not subjunctive, but past perfect tense.

I disagree.

CB

Cool Breeze
BillJIncidentally, "had started" is not subjunctive, but past perfect tense.

I disagree.

CB

If you had started is conditional, not subjunctive.

The term subjunctive is best reserved for one of the three major constructions headed by a plain form verb, as in It is vital that I be kept informed.

In the present system, mood in English is mostly marked by modal auxiliaries. The exception is irrealis mood (or the ill-named past subjunctive) "were", as in I wish that were true.

The subjunctive construction can occur in the protasis in some conditionals, as in If such a demonstration be made, it will find little support ... (note the plain form verb "be"), but that has no relevance to the OP's example.

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BillJIf you had started is conditional, not subjunctive.

Many grammarians, including the ones I learned English grammar from, use the term subjunctive in sentences like the OP's. I do know that people disagree about everything in English grammar. In fact, I just read an interview with a Finnish translator who has translated more than 100 English books into Finnish. She said that there is no grammar in the English language. There are just innumerable phrases. 😁

I don't quite agree with her, though. English grammar is a simplified version in comparison with the other Germanic languages, but grammar it is. And very similar to Swedish or German grammar, for example.

I'll let you call if you had started whatever you want to call it, and I hope I can do the same. Agreed?

CB