Is this paragraph correct grammatically?

Years ago, a star wandering blindly through space happened to come near the sun. It must have raised tides on the surface of the sun and created a disturbance. As this star would have come nearer, the tides would have been higher and ultimately developed into big mountains. As the second star began to move away its tidal pull had become so powerful that this mountain was torn to pieces and threw off small parts of itself into the space.

Can we use below mentioned sentence in place of this sentence?

As this star had come nearer, the tides would have become higher.

What will be the difference?

  • 1
    As this star came nearer, the tides would have become higher... Dec 20 '16 at 13:41

It is fine to use "would", but since this is not a hypothetical situation, it is not necessary. Also, idiomatically, tides grow "stronger" and not "higher". Waves (caused by tidal action) might get higher.

There are many ways to say this, but here is one example:

As this star came nearer, the tides on the surface of the Sun grew stronger, and eventually formed mountainous waves. As the star moved away these were torn to pieces and threw off (or ejected) parts into space.

[Edit] I suggested that tides are stronger not higher because tidal action is a force. The resulting waves from tidal action (different from ocean waves caused by wind, but that's a different topic) have an amplitude that can be higher or lower, but the tide itself is measured in degrees of strength and not in degrees of dimension. But this might be overly picky.

  • Why can't tides be "higher"? We talk about "high" and "low" tide on Earth due to the gravitational pull of the Moon. The tidal pull could be stronger, but I don't understand why the tide itself would be stronger; it's a periodic variation in the surface level of a liquid, not a current, so I think talking about high and low makes sense.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20 '16 at 13:59
  • @ColleenV It just doesn't feel right in this context. Yes there are high and low tides, but these are related to the degree of tidal action. Tides themselves are a force, the result of which can be higher or lower depending on the direction and degree. Force itself is measured in Newtons, not meters.
    – Andrew
    Dec 20 '16 at 14:05
  • I'm not really arguing with you - I just didn't understand the why of it from your perspective. I think it would be good to explain a little in your answer why stronger is better than higher (and maybe say a little bit about why an event no-one could have possibly witnessed is not hypothetical/theoretical...) I don't disagree with you; I'm trying to imagine the pitfalls for a non-native speaker.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20 '16 at 14:16
  • @ColleenV thanks you are right. Actually I didn't think of the reason why it felt wrong until you asked the question. :)
    – Andrew
    Dec 20 '16 at 14:18

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