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Hi, 

I encoutered this statement in a famous indian news paper. Is it correct grammatically?

"Would the gov't have taken so much time if JDS and Congress were together,"  BJP  General secreteray  Yaswanth Sinha asked.
(JDS, Congress, BJP are political parties)

I felt it is neither unreal condition in the past, nor unreal condition in the present.

Unreal condition in the PAST should be like

"Would the gov't have taken so much time if JDS and Congress had been together"

Unreal condition in the PRESENT should be like

"Would the gov't take so much time if JDS and Congress were together".

Please clarify which of them is more appropriate.

Thanks,

Ravi
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Comments  (Page 2) 
Thanks a lot for all of you for crystal clear clarifications provided. 
AnonymousIf I put the phrase "back then", will it change the whole sentence paradigm
"paradigm" is OK.
It does seem to change the meaning. In fact, the addition of back then makes the sentence seem less idiomatic.
back then goes more naturally with had been. I don't think it goes well with were.

If John had been smart back then, he would not have made such a stupid remark.
I would stick strictly to the third conditional pattern if I were using back then.
CJ
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Thank you. What are possible critera (if there are any) for deciding which sentential or phrasal construction is idiomatic or unidimatic.

The "were" version seems grammatical correct and seem to convey some meaning. Sorry I for not providing the "were" version.