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I am not sure about using past perfect in sentences like this. To be honest, I don't even know what is that - mixed condition, unreal time?

"She would get you fired before you had sent your complaint"

I want to emphasize that he would not even finish the sending the complaint, that is why I use past perfect in this context.

  • Probably more natural as: She'd have you fired before you could send your complaint. – Jim Oct 24 '13 at 7:11
  • Yes but that would mean "before you start complaining". But imagine he is already calling someone, complaining about her..but before he finished, she got him fired. – Vivarion Oct 24 '13 at 7:25
  • Ok, there is a fine line between "actually hitting send" on your complaint and starting it, and the difference is in whether you say, "send a complaint" - meaning you haven't started one yet, or "send your complaint" which might mean you have one started, but could also mean you just have one formulated in your head. But that aside you could say, "...before you could finish your complaint" if you preferred. – Jim Oct 24 '13 at 7:29
  • Thanks, still not get it completely. So the present perfect I used in the example would not work? It would mean basically same, wouldn't it? – Vivarion Oct 24 '13 at 7:36
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    I think your example is phrased fine. – Peter Shor Oct 24 '13 at 11:52
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Since you say that you "want to emphasize that he would not even finish the sending the complaint" it seems to me that any indicative, perfect or otherwise, would be misleading. I suggest you use an irrealis version of can or be able:

She would get you fired before you could send your complaint.
She would get you fired before you would be able to send your complaint.

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