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When a sentence is formed in past tense every part of it must suggest the past.
But here in the sentence
" Perhaps what I wrote would never be published, for the years I would spend in prison were likely to witness even greater convulsions and conflicts than the years of war that are already over."
are suggests the present, therefore according to me it must be were
Please help me if I am wrong.
Thanks in advance

1 Answer 1

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If every part of a sentence had to be within the same tense, we would not be able to convey many concepts that have already been conveyed.

The quoted sentence is saying, effectively

It's possible that what I wrote would never be published. This would be possibly due to the years I would spend in prison. These years would be likely to witness even greater convulsions and conflicts than the years of war that have already passed.

It feels to me like most of the quoted sentence was written as a hypothetical. "What I wrote" is, in this sense, something that exists in the moment of the sentence. The writing was in the past, but now it's the speaker's written work. But they're considering that maybe it wouldn't be published in the future. The years spent in prison are also in the future as a hypothetical.

It's difficult to tell for certain without the context in which that sentence was written. But I really feel very little of this sentence is about the past.

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