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I have come up with the following simple sentence:

If I had been younger I would have had less wrinkles.

It bears the past tense in it and I as understand it is perfectly correct. But if I make it a bit more complex I'm not sure what tense I should use for the 2nd, 3rd etc. verbs in such sentences. For example, lets change the said sentence to this:

If I had been younger and exercised more I would have had less wrinkles and could run a marathon.

Is that sentence correct? The thing that bothering me, whether it is correct to use just "exercised" & "could" and not "had exercised" & "could have".

  • The sentence is most likely going to be read as If I had been younger and [had] exercised more... Since this is the case could run sounds strange here, especially after would have had. If the if-clause was only If I exercised more, then could run would be fine. – Alan Carmack Aug 20 '16 at 13:02
  • @AlanCarmack, and if it is "could have run"? Does it sound correct to you? – ixSci Aug 20 '16 at 13:06
  • Yes, could have run would be correct. – Alan Carmack Aug 20 '16 at 13:07
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    It's not that easy. Native speakers use a variety of combinations of verb forms in conditional sentences. What you have asked about, though, is using two verb forms (past perfect had been and simple past exercised) in the if-clause to set up two different conditions, and this is something we don't usually do, and it would be rare to see it on a test. My comment was only to say that the sentence would normally be read as two past perfects. – Alan Carmack Aug 20 '16 at 13:57
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    @Alan Carmack: Since I would assume a deleted had exercised (as would you, apparently), I'd also naturally assume a deleted could have run in the final clause of OP's second example. But mainly I would question whether Past Perfect is necessary anywhere in the text. Exact context might affect this, but it's almost never a good idea to get into the position where you keep repeating Past Perfect usages in pursuit of some hypothetical "tense consistency". – FumbleFingers Aug 20 '16 at 14:44
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Your sentence

If I had been younger and exercised more I would have had less wrinkles and could run a marathon.

is odd because of the mixing of tenses.

If I had been younger, I would have had less wrinkles (in the photo).

makes sense as past perfect.

If I exercised more, I could run a marathon.

makes sense in the present.

You could move everything to the present

If I was younger and exercised more, I would have less wrinkles and could run a marathon.

or move everything to the past

If I had been younger and had exercised more, I would have had less wrinkles and could have run a marathon.

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