Grammer question

  jtt 08:52 16 Jun 2009

Is the following grammatically correct?

"They would be boasting about it if they had done it"

It's the "had" that I'm not sure about.

  Quiller. 08:53 16 Jun 2009

Yes it should be

Grammar question.

  interzone55 09:02 16 Jun 2009

I always use the rule that if it sounds OK when you say it, then it's correct as far as most people are concerned.

In your case "They'd be boasting about it if they'd done it" would be the way most people would say the sentence, which is just a contraction of your original sentence.

Interesting how "they'd" is a contraction of both "they would" and "they had", but both different meanings are apparent to the listener...

  Brumas 09:07 16 Jun 2009

"They would have been boasting about it had they done it" seems to read a little better to me. Having wrote that I must point out English was not a lesson I generally kept wide-awake in ;o)

  natdoor 09:09 16 Jun 2009

Since they had not done it, the statement is hypothetical and thus requires the subjunctive. An elegant form demonstrating the subjunctive would be "Were they to have done it they would be boasting".

  oldbeefer2 09:35 16 Jun 2009

I really do feel sorry for foreigners trying to learn English!

  Picklefactory 09:47 16 Jun 2009

I used to, until my partner started trying to teach me Polish, now I feel sorry for Polish people who have to learn Polish!!

  Picklefactory 09:49 16 Jun 2009

And what did they not do that they would have been bragging about anyway, had they done it?

Just curious ;o)

  Bingalau 10:42 16 Jun 2009

When I saw the heading to this thread, I thought we were going to get a spelling lesson too.

  Bingalau 10:43 16 Jun 2009

Probably just a way of getting our attention?

  skeletal 11:05 16 Jun 2009

As I read the sentence, it did not seem correct and thus I began to try to reformulate it. Then I read natdoor’s solution.


My only thought is: should there not be a comma between “it” and “they”?

"Were they to have done it, they would be boasting".

I am often troubled by the “silent” comma in sentences, this being a perfect example.


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