1

Please help me to understand meaning of below sentence

When to use was and had been in conditional sentence?

a) "The station house officer said if it had been an accidental death they could file case or investigate"

b) "The station house officer said if it was an accidental death they could file case or investigate"

1

Had been uses the pluperfect tense. Since you've already established the temporal point of reference as the time of the officer making the statement, had been refers to the accidental death as the moment

Was is simple past. This can refer to the accidental death as any time in the past, using the present as the temporal reference.

The difference in meaning is insignificant. Both are acceptable to use.

  • Thanks operaticSkeleton. But still I'm not clear – user4084 Apr 29 '15 at 9:11
  • To me, the only difference is in temporal reference. a)'s is in the past, while b)'s is in the present. There is virtually no difference in meaning in context. – OperaticSkeleton Apr 30 '15 at 5:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.