1

I wrote a sentence on my own jokingly.

How cool would it be, if I could have infiltrated the Kremlin, steal the Tsar's throne and return to my peaceful home unharmed

Regarding that sentence my friend told me, it would have been grammatical if I wrote it in the following way

How cool would it be, if I could have infiltrated the Kremlin, stolen the Tsar's throne and returned to my peaceful home unharmed

The BOLD parts are changed in the last sentence. The reason he told me was that the could have part should be followed by past participle form of every verbs. So as I had written "could have infiltrated", I should have used stolen and returned for the same reason. Is it true?

To me, if I could have infiltrated the Kremlin, I am like gone to the fictional time and now what I was about to do is like happening in the present of that time. So I used present tense.

4

Look at it this way:

How cool would it be if I could have infiltrated the Kremlin! (what you already had)

How cool would it be if I could have stolen the Tsar's throne!

How cool would it be if I could have returned home!

The 'present tense' alternatives are wrong:

How cool would it be if I could have infiltrate the Kremlin!*

How cool would it be if I could have steal the throne!*

How cool would it be if I could have return home!*

As you see, the real problem is that "could have" is part of the verb phrase of infiltrate, and of steal, and of return.

Compare:

I had heard and seen him (correct).

I had heard and saw him* (incorrect).

I had heard him, but now I saw him (correct).

  • What is a verb phrase? – Mistu4u Sep 30 '13 at 19:07
  • Wikipedia has a technical definition; I'm probably not quite using it correctly. My point is just that "steal" and "return" are syntactically constrained by "could have", but it's easiest to explain by example. – Merk Sep 30 '13 at 20:37
  • @Mistu4u A verb phrase is a phrase with a verb as its head. For example, in the sentence "I went to the store", the subject "I" is a noun phrase, and the predicate "went to the store" is a verb phrase. The head of the noun phrase "I" is "I", and the head of the verb phrase "went to the store" is "went". – snailcar Oct 1 '13 at 12:18

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