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They were grinning smooth talkers who patted you on the back with one hand and picked your pocket with the other

Can we rewrite this sentence as:

They were grinning smooth talkers who would pat you on the back with one hand and picked your pocket with the other.

OR

They were grinning smooth talkers who would patted on the back with one hand and picked your pocket with the other.

Is the first sentence simple past tense or past perfect?

2 Answers 2

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Can we rewrite this sentence as - they were grinning smooth talkers who would pat you on the back with one hand and picked your pocket with the other OR they were grinning smooth talkers who would patted on the back with one hand and picked your pocket with the other. Is the first sentence simple past tense or past perfect?

Neither. The auxiliary verb "would" must be followed by the bare infinitive of the main verb or verbs.

they were grinning smooth talkers who would pat you on the back with one hand and (would) pick your pocket with the other

The second "would" could be used but is not necessary. Both "pat" and "pick" must be infinitive.

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They were grinning smooth talkers who patted you on the back with one hand and picked your pocket with the other.

If you are regarding this as the first sentence, then the highlighted word is simple past tense.

They were grinning smooth talkers who would patted on the back with one hand and picked your pocket with the other.

This sentence is incorrect. Pat is a transitive verb. Hence the modal verb can't be directly used with it.

They were grinning smooth talkers who would pat on the back with one hand and pick your pocket with the other.

This is correct. You could use this as an alternative for the original statement.

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