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We didn’t know how we would cope once the money had gone.

Had the money really gone or it's just an imagination?

2 Answers 2

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The sentence is fine. It is talking about something in the past (not knowing), and we could put it into the present as "We don't know (now) how we will cope when the money has gone". The difficulty in coping and the going are both future events, i.e. they occur after the not knowing. However the difficulty will not occur until after the money is gone, so the use of "has gone" is correct.

The original sentence refers to not knowing in the past, and presumable the speaker now knows (in the present) how they coped.

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This sentence doesn't make sense. The "would" here is future-in-the-past, a tense used to describe events that are in the past from the perspective of the speaker but in the future from the perspective of the noun performing the action.

Thus, it should be something like "We didn’t know how we would cope once the money went."

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