I have a question regarding wishful thinking:
‘Let’s imagine that you saw a person today, but in reality, she had actually died three years ago, would it be scary?’
Should the bold phrase be backshifted to past perfect tense, or past tense?
Why do you think you are backshifting?
Hi Mister Micawber,
Because we are creating a imaginary situation. Am I correct?
I think it’s a mistake to think of it as backshifting, that is all. 'Backshifting is an effect in reported speech, where present tense and time regresses or backshifts to past tense or time. In conditionals, the past tense verb form is used for an imaginary or improbable present.
Having said that, I’ve probably called it ‘backshifting’, too! But I don’t see any need to use past perfect unless you wish to stress the precedence:
Let’s imagine that you saw a person today, but in reality, she (had) actually died three years ago, would it be scary?