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Sentence:

She obviously has a legit excuse, although she could have been more responsible and told you in advance

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2 Answers 2

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Try this:

She obviously has a legit excuse, although she could have been more responsible and "have" told you in advance.

You need to use "could" again if you are using "have" again.

She obviously has a legit excuse, although she could have been more responsible and could have told you in advance.

That makes it redundant. Therefore, stick to the first option which is:

She obviously has a legit excuse, although she could have been more responsible and told you in advance.

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The first have covers both been more responsible and told you in that sentence. So as it stands, it is fine.

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@Robusto: Isn't it like if one verb is an action verb ('told') and the other one is a copula verb ('been') then the previous auxiliary verb/verbs, if there is/are such, should be present in both cases ('...she COULD HAVE been more responsible and COULD HAVE told you in advance')? –  brilliant Jan 10 '11 at 4:59
    
Have can be a helper verb for copula or any other verb. –  Robusto Jan 10 '11 at 5:04
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@brilliant: That's not a rule I've ever come across. I'm sure there are situations where repeating the auxiliaries will be clearer, but I don't think it's ever strictly necessary if they're identical. Certainly in this case it sounds much better without the repetition because the link between the two verbs is very close (ie the implication is that "be responsible" and "tell you" are the same thing; that implication would be lost by repeating the "could have"...) –  psmears Jan 10 '11 at 6:00
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@brilliant: @(1) I am sure you have good grammar books, since you write well, but it is a sad fact that there are many books that give "rules" of English grammar that are at best guidelines, and at worst simply wrong. So do take care :) –  psmears Jan 10 '11 at 13:26
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@brilliant @(2-4) I understand the point you're making, but the idiom works even with regular verbs and others where the past participle & simple past are identical ("she could have been Xxx and handed you her notice/helped you out/hit him"). To a native speaker it is much more natural to assume the verbs have the same subject than to try to insert a new subject that's not there (and that would make the meaning very strange). Even in your "more" example, the "more" only modifies "responsible", so there is no need for or even suggestion of a different subject... –  psmears Jan 10 '11 at 13:39
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