Is this sentence grammatically correct? Would his death have been any less horrific if he hadn't have been a policeman?
Spell check is telling me the 'have' after hadn't is wrong...
- RPLv 71 month ago
I agree with spell check. Try Would his death have been any less horrific if he hadn't been a policeman... or, for the last clause, if he weren't a policeman.
- 1 month ago
Exactly. You can drop the 'have.' If you look at what the idea is here, you'll realize that 'hadn't' is a contraction for 'had not.' Translate that sentence to standard English, which would read: "...;if he had not been...' That's all you need to write.
- curtisports2Lv 71 month ago
- GypsyfishLv 71 month ago
It's a past unreal condition. The "if" clause uses the past perfect
"hadn't been". The other clause uses a modal, such as "would".
You NEVER EVER EVER have "have" after "had". It's not a possible verb combination.
I have had 3 cups of coffee today. (present perfect).
He had had breakfast before I got there (past perfect)
He hasn't been a policeman (present perfect).
He hadn't been a policeman (past perfect)
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- bluebellbkkLv 71 month ago
Spell check is correct. You shouldn't have that "have" after "hadn't".
Correct version:"Would his death have been any less horrific if he hadn't been a policeman?"
- NancyLv 71 month ago
Yes, it's correct. It's suggesting that he may not have been a policeman when he died, like maybe the speaker doesn't know if he was still a policeman or the speaker is saying he had previously stopped being a police office but some effect of him being a police officer may have continued up until his death, possibly even contributing to how horrifically he died. If he was a policeman when he died, then you would say, "Would his death have been any less horrific if he hadn't been a policeman?" That uses the pluperfect subjunctive to cast a hypothetical into the simple past.