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simple or perfect?

English translation: might HAVE been found/pursued

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06:15 Feb 19, 2008
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics / grammar
English term or phrase: simple or perfect?
Whatever research on Jack London’s life or works **might be pursued**, whatever new biographic facts or documents **might be found**, everything was regarded as just another confirmation of his Marxist views – or wasn’t regarded at all.


Dear English speaking colleagues!

Please advise on the tense here - which should I use, simple or perfect? I mean, would "might have been found" or "might have been pursued" be better, probably? I'm not really sure...

This is an article about literary criticism in the Soviet Union.
Andrew Vdovin
Local time: 18:52
English translation:might HAVE been found/pursued
Explanation:
"Might be" could technically be misconstrued as something that may yet take place, regardless of the fact that many readers nowadays might not even know the century London lived in.
Selected response from:

Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 07:52
Grading comment
Thank you very much for your help Mark! Thanks everybody!!!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +5might HAVE been found/pursued
Mark Berelekhis
4past subjunctive?
Rachel Fell
1 +3pastVladimir Lioukaikine


  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +5
might HAVE been found/pursued


Explanation:
"Might be" could technically be misconstrued as something that may yet take place, regardless of the fact that many readers nowadays might not even know the century London lived in.

Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 07:52
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 38
Grading comment
Thank you very much for your help Mark! Thanks everybody!!!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ghyslaine LE NAGARD
2 mins
  -> Thank you, NewCal.

agree  Marie-Hélène Hayles: "might be" would be OK as new research on JL may still be conducted in the future, however the "everything WAS regarded" makes it clear that we're talking about past research here...//Also agree with Jim's comment though//yes, agreed
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Marie-Helene. I do not disagree with that, and my reasoning was the past tense that follows this idea and the fact that 'might've been' stresses this point.

agree  Jack Doughty
1 hr
  -> Thank you, Jack.

neutral  Jim Tucker: "might be" for "might have been" is more common in BE, and you will find it used today in formal or elevated prose. It's a good option here because much less cumbersome. Cf. "Try as he might, he couldn't find her"
1 hr
  -> Jim, perhaps, but another major reason why I liked "might've" is that it emphasized the point better. Please see Marie-Helene's comment to Vladimir's answer.

agree  Vicky Nash
10 hrs
  -> Thank you, Vicky.

agree  V_N
4 days
  -> Thank you, V_N.
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): +3
past


Explanation:
In case you're using things like "everything was regarded", I'd think the past tense should fit, although the use of passive is not very welcome.

So I guess "were pursued" and "were found" might get in here...

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Note added at 19 mins (2008-02-19 06:35:42 GMT)
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Or even past perfect

Vladimir Lioukaikine
Local time: 15:52
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jim Tucker: yes (though "was pursued" rather than "were") - the other "might be" construction is just cumbersome and distracting here, though it serves as the equivalent of "might have been" in BE of the earlier 20th century
1 hr
  -> Yes, sure, thanks! 'twas my last post before I hit the sack / packed in last night, sorry. Thanks, Jim!

agree  Mark Nathan: "whatever research was pursued, whatever new documents were found, everything was..." Using "might" in the past sounds wrong to me - "whatever they might have found" = "whatever they found"
3 hrs
  -> Absolutely. Thank you, Mark!

agree  Ken Cox: Personally, I'd word it as 'No matter what research... was pursued or what... were found, ...
3 hrs
  -> That's what I was kind of hinting at - some rewording might help :-) Thank you, Ken!

neutral  Marie-Hélène Hayles: Neutral because to me this option detracts from the impact of the sentence. Might be/might have been gives (me) the impression of an idée fixe which no amount of actual or potential research could possibly change.
4 hrs
  -> I don't think it does. But, on the other hand, I'm speaking grammar, rather than psychological impact. ;-) Thanks, Marie-Hélène!
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16 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
past subjunctive?


Explanation:
isn't it expressing the conditional mood of what might be found then in the future, esp. as it's followed by "everything was"? "Might have been found/pursued" would express things that had already taken place.

Sorry if this duplicates any other comments.

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Note added at 16 hrs (2008-02-19 22:42:43 GMT)
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future or as time went by

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Note added at 16 hrs (2008-02-19 22:50:47 GMT)
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or rather, hypothetical mood

Rachel Fell
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:52
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
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Changes made by editors
Feb 19, 2008 - Changes made by Mark Berelekhis:
FieldOther » Art/Literary
Field (specific)Other » Linguistics


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