1) They hospitalized a man who got into a fight with a nurse.

Can we tell if the man got into a fight with a nurse before being hospitalized or after?

2) They might have captured a tiger that escaped.

Can we tell if the tiger had escaped before being captured or after?

3) Maybe he bought a car that was stolen.
4) He might have bought a car that was stolen.

Can we be sure that the car wasn't stolen after he bought it?

Gratefully,
Navi

Original Post

Hi, Navi,

@navi posted:

1) They hospitalized a man who got into a fight with a nurse.

Can we tell if the man got into a fight with a nurse before being hospitalized or after?

The more natural interpretation is that the man was hospitalized as a result of his fight with a nurse. Otherwise, you should say "... who then got into a fight ..."

@navi posted:

2) They might have captured a tiger that escaped.

Can we tell if the tiger had escaped before being captured or after?

I would say: They might have captured a tiger that had escaped.

@navi posted:

3) Maybe he bought a car that was stolen.
4) He might have bought a car that was stolen.

Can we be sure that the car wasn't stolen after he bought it?

The car was stolen before he bought it. Only thus does the probability of having bought such a car make sense. I don't think it makes much sense to say that it is probable that he bought a car that was stolen afterwards.

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor