I'd like to know if the following sentence is correct (concerning the verb forms):

"If the Indians refused to convert to Christianism, they were killed."

As this is a real past condition, can I use preterit in both propositions?



When referring to a past outcome, it is common to use if with simple past in the if-clause, and to use simple past again in the main clause:

If they complained, they were fired.

If they complained, they got nothing.

It is a statement of a past fact. if pretty much means when there. Those statements could be roughly paraphrased as follows:

Those who complained got fired.

Those who complained got nothing.

P.S. But "if they complained" could refer to a present-future possibility or condition:

If they complained, would City Council change the plan?

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