1

I'm wondering if this is correct from logic and grammar perspective if we apply also conditional sentencing (0/1/2/3).

if he had been arrested, he would commit a crime.

Thank you!

2

Yes, it's unremarkable meaning- and grammar-wise.

If he had been arrested...

The above means he wasn't arrested, but hypothesizes about that situation.

...he would commit a crime.

This means he hasn't committed a crime in the present, but that he would (sooner or later) if the condition had been met.


The sentence isn't very specific, so it really could mean anything.

Suppose Adam hates Bob, and will kill him if he sees him. Further, suppose all criminals are sent to the same prison. A month ago, Adam stole something, but wasn't arrested. Now, if he had been arrested, he would be in prison right now, right? But he wasn't arrested, and he's not in prison. Now, Bob, on the other hand, whom Adam hates, is in prison right now. As I said at the beginning, Adam hates Bob, and if Adam had been arrested, he would be in prison right now, with Bob, and he'd kill him, which is a crime (i.e., he would commit a crime). But, again, Adam isn't in prison, so he hasn't killed Bob.

I know the story's a little stupid, but whatever; it works.

Your sentence would be a so-called mixed conditional sentence. Read more about conditionals here.

  • A correct answer, but as your story illustrates, not a likely thing to say. It is much more likely that someone would want to say "If he had committed a crime, he would be arrested." – James K Aug 6 '19 at 21:40
  • Or, "If he had not been arrested, he would have committed a crime". – JeremyC Aug 6 '19 at 21:51
  • What would be the opinion of the commenters if we modify the situation a little, mixing a real situation with that of a hypothetical one. He really committed a crime yesterday but hasn't been arrested and is still at large. We are aware of the crime and we also know that the police have either been in the know. And we say: "If he committed a crime yesterday, why wouldn't the police have arrested him then?" – Eugene Aug 7 '19 at 13:30
  • And can it hereby be that we have the past conditional of the modal verb "would" expressing volition (something like: ...why wouldn't it have occurred to the police to arrest him or ...why wouldn't the police have had the strong will (desire) to arrest him?) and thus having its form (wouldn’t+perfect infinitive)? Or can “wouldn’t+perfect infinitive” only be the third conditional with “would” acting just as an auxiliary not retaining its modal meaning? – Eugene Aug 7 '19 at 13:55

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