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Doing this can only lead to resentment amongst young people, who would feel that they were being used.

Is that the right tense agreement using past progressive - were being used - in the sentence above? It doesn't even look like any conditional form that I used to see, so using past tense makes it quite confounding for me to read. Do you think it's grammatical? If it is, then help me to understand this sentence too.

Quoted from http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2012/06/ielts-writing-task-2-unpaid-work-essay.html

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  • Yes, it is correct. "would feel....they were being used". See also: He would feel ... he was|were being used. Hypothetical scenario: "Doing this".
    – TimR
    Sep 5, 2017 at 19:14
  • well, then how would you make any if-related sentence out of it if to say that it's hypothetical? Sep 6, 2017 at 7:45
  • If we {did|were to do} this, it would lead to resentment among young people who would feel that they {were being|had been} used. If you don't feel your context establishes the hypothetical nature of the proposition with sufficient clarity, you can switch from "did" to "were to do" and from "were being" to "had been". But "would lead" in the matrix clause is sufficient indication that it is a hypothetical not a past conditional. Had it been past, it would say "would have led".
    – TimR
    Sep 6, 2017 at 11:42

1 Answer 1

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Doing this can only lead to resentment amongst young people, who would feel that they were being used.

  1. [ who would feel [that they were being used]] : is a relative clause that elaborates additional information about young people in which the embedded clause that they were being used fills the gap of the subject complement, which doesn't have to correspond the verb tense of the main clause.

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