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What is the meaning of the following sentence--

If the Left frontally attacked the Congress, the BJP was disparaging.

I think the sentence is in subjunctive mood and it says that if the left would frontly attack the congress then the BJP would disparage.
But this meaning sounds very odd. Also I cannot understand the construction of this sentence??


Thanks in advance..................

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  • Forget about subjunctive mood, in English. There really is no such thing per se. The sentence is correct and your explanation with would is not. Generally, you have to decide if you want to say this in the past or in the present. was disparaging is past tense. Therefore, When the left....not if. – Lambie Apr 2 '19 at 20:19
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This sentence is not "subjunctive" or unreal; the past forms express tense, not modality.

In fact, this is only formally a conditional construction, employed rhetorically to express a contrast between two different reactions to Mr. Gandhi's decision.

To my mind this was not a felicitous choice. Ordinarily with this "contrastive" use, the condition clause puts forward a predication with a moderate degree of some quality, and the consequence clause puts forward a predication with a greater degree of the quality. For instance:

If John was big, George was huge. That is, if it is appropriate to characterize John's size as big then we need a much stronger term to characterize George's.

In this case, however, the condition clause expresses a much fiercer reaction (frontally attacked) than the consequence clause (was disparaging). Logically, it makes sense; but by inverting the ordinary usage the device loses its rhetorical force.

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