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Should I revise this sentence?

Should I change this sentence in bold into version 2?

Version 1

“We didn’t go farther because we would be killed if we got into their territory.

Version 2

“We didn’t go farther because we would have been killed if we had got into their territory.

2 Answers 2

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We didn’t go farther because we would be killed if we got into their territory.

We didn’t go farther because we would have been killed if we had got into their territory.

Version 1 works in general. The speaker knew the consequence maybe from instinct.

Version 2's we would have been killed if we had got into their territory suggests that the sentence was said after a lesson learned. This sentence needs to be improved. Also, entered is better than got into:

Edit

We didn’t go [further] because [we learned from a previous encounter in which] we would have been killed if we had [entered] their territory.

We didn’t go [further] because [we learned from a previous encounter which would've got us] killed if we had [entered] their territory.

Version 2 and its variations like the two I suggested are quite unnecessary unless that previous experience was important to be mentioned.

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  • I would say "further" rather than "farther"
    – Edward B
    Commented May 19 at 4:34
  • +1 I agree with @Seowjooheng Singapore that option 1 is better than option 2
    – Edward B
    Commented May 19 at 4:37
  • @EdwardB thanks for your comments. Are you a native speaker of English?
    – Skywarrior
    Commented May 19 at 4:53
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    "got into" isn't great either. "went into" or "entered" might be better
    – James K
    Commented May 19 at 5:07
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    Yes, I am a native English speaker
    – Edward B
    Commented May 19 at 5:11
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As a speaker of American English who uses "got" all the time, I'd have to agree with a comment left by JamesK below the answer from Seowjooheng Singapore, which is spot-on with respect to the meaning of the tenses.

got into is not idiomatic there and entered is idiomatic.

If you're on train, you can say

We got into Philadelphia around 9AM.

There it means "entered the downtown area (the vicinity of the station)".

Or if you're on a road-trip by car across a country that contains states or provinces, or across a continent that contains a number of smaller countries, and these smaller political entities are on your route, you can say:

We got into Pennsylvania around 4PM on Tuesday.

We got into Germany around noon.

There you could say "crossed into", and got into in that context means crossed the state or provincial boundary, or the country's border.

A territory has neither a defined population center nor a defined border. For those reasons we do not "get into" a territory.

Before an area beyond civilization is surveyed and mapped out, the boundary is somewhat amorphous. Are we in Sioux territory yet? could have been a question on the minds of early settlers in the States who went west. There is a transitional phase when experience tells people, even if the surveyors have not yet gotten into the act, that Sioux territory begins in this valley, say. And once there is a generally accepted notion of where that territory begins, people begin to say "We crossed into Sioux territory". And then they could say "We got into Sioux territory by mid August."

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  • "had gotten into", however, would be idiomatically correct.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 20 at 3:32

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