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Viola
Questionable sentence with "were" Hi! I listened to an English lesson today, and in the lesson there was a sentence that is not completely clear to me. I copied it in context, but the questionable sentence is the second sentence in the text: "A “social secretary” is a person whose job it is to manage someone’s social appointments – where they go to lunch, the parties they attend, and so forth. Normally, only a very rich or important person would have a social secretary, someone who would handle things that were not related to the person’s business life, but to his or her personal life." So, I don't understand that in the second sentence, why "were" is used instead of "are"? I think that this sentence is not in past simple tense. I thought about whether it is conditional, because of the usage of "would have" and "would handle", but I think it isn't a conditional either. Which grammar is it? Do you happen to know? Thanks in advance!
Sep 18, 2019 3:22 PM
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Answers · 6
Hi Viola As I see, you are right. It is due to the conditional. “Normally, only a very rich or important person would have a social secretary”. See this sentence as “If you were a very rich or important person you would have a social secretary” Then you could say: “...a social secretary, someone who handle things that are no related to...” , but conditional makes it to change to “...a social secretary, someone who would handle things that were no related to...” I hope it helps
September 18, 2019
Thank you Gary. I’m trying to improve my answers. Please feel free to correct my mistakes.
September 19, 2019
It is conditional. It's a pity Leonardo's answer is confusing and full of spelling errors.
September 19, 2019
You are describing what a secretary does and matching would with were but you could use the present tense if you use it for both. For example someone who handles (present tense ) that are ( present tense) not related..... It is not conditional
September 18, 2019
I believe it is sequence od tenses, there is "would handle" which is past, so "are" becomes "were" But I might be wrong
September 18, 2019
Viola
Language Skills
English, Hungarian
Learning Language
English