Which is correct:
If the location had not been in a severe terrain and had not been in the evening ~
If the location had not been in a severe terrain and in the evening ~
The second one sounds better without repeating "had not been" but the first is more precise.

  • Neither utterance is acceptable, because the location wasn't "in the evening", and that's what the syntax implies ("the location" is the implied / repeated noun for the second element: ...and if the location had not been in the evening, which is semantic garbage). You need to repeat the "dummy it", as ...and if it had not been in the evening. Aug 28 '20 at 14:20
  • Except, a location can be "in the evening" same as it can be in "in night" or "in the day". Imagine you're looking at a photo from space. It's not incorrect, but it's not particularly "right" either. Aug 28 '20 at 14:27
  • @RogerTheShrubber: Are you suggesting that contrived context somehow "licences" OP's construction? If so, I strongly disagree - to me, it's totally unacceptable, even in a sloppy / casual spoken context. Aug 28 '20 at 14:52
  • It's not a contrived context, it was merely an example that I thought would illustrate that the phrase is not "incorrect". Notice in my answer I explicitly told him it's not how you should write it. The fact that one can come up with ANY context where it might work means the phrasing is "technically correct". Technically, in THIS case, means precisely that in the right context it might work. But because it's not the "right" way to compose the sentence for the vast majority of contexts I offered better alternatives. Aug 28 '20 at 15:42

Either is technically correct, but you're right that the second one sounds better.

However, if we examine the second statement on it's own--"If the location had not been in the evening..."--it sounds a bit odd. Yes, the meaning is clear, that is "If it had not been evening in that location at that time", it's not typical to phrase it that way in English. You can just use "it", and it is implied you're talking about the time. However, you must then use "had not been" again since the subject in that clause is now the time rather than the location.

Also, you can drop the "a" in "a severe terrain".

This is how I would write the sentence:

If the location had not been in severe terrain and it had not been evening...

(Disclaimer: I speak American English, so it might be different to other native speakers.)

  • Nah - neither version is even close to being "technically correct" (nor are they even "idiomatically acceptable") until you include that repeated dummy "it". Aug 28 '20 at 14:20

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