“The Daily News observed that there was no doubt as to the crime being a political one. The despotism and hatred of Liberalism which animated the Continental Governments had had the effect of driving to our shores a number of men who might have made excellent citizens were they not soured by the recollection of all that they had undergone.”

A Study in Scarlet

Hi. Does the bold part refer to the past, so the bold part is equivalent to “had they not been soured...”? In other words, it is a simplified type 3 conditional?
 
And do we simplify the tense (past perfect) of the if-clause in a type 3 conditional to simple past without changing the meaning in modern English, just like the op example?

Thank you.
 
 
Original Post

Zuo,

I agree that “had they not been soured...” could substitute for "were they not soured...", and indeed sounds better to me, half a world away and 132 years later.  In the context of the time the book was written, though, I find it perfect as written.

DocV

Doc V posted:

Zuo,

I agree that “had they not been soured...” could substitute for "were they not soured...", and indeed sounds better to me, half a world away and 132 years later.  In the context of the time the book was written, though, I find it perfect as written.

DocV

Thank you, Doc V.

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