0

Holding hands, people jumped in the water, and floated around in Boston’s Charles River recently. That is something that would not have been possible years ago because the river was so polluted.

Why does it use '...would have...' instead of 'was not possible...'?

thanks

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, David, MetaEd Sep 14 '17 at 17:18

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1

It's the conditional -- that's why you use "would have." The thing did not actually happen; it's a speculation or a proposition -- an "if" statement. As in: If this had happened years ago, X would have been the case.

The grammatical explanation or description for the conditional is

modal [would] + present tense of to have + past participle of the verb

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.