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I have already looked at other examples, but am somehow struggling with my own (e.g., here: Would have been... vs. Had been ) The phrase I am concerned with:

As we earlier explained, we had expected item 9's pattern to be opposite of item 2's pattern, meaning that negative correlations between the two items had been logical.

Small context: in an earlier section I explained about a phenomenon I here refer to. The reason I use 'had expected', is because our expectation was before writing the piece of text. Now, I am unsure if the part of 'had been logical' is correctly used here. It feels weird to me, so I am thinking of using 'would have been' instead.

Your help will be appreciated.

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You should use "would have been".

Since it's referring to something "expecting to be", which means it didn't happen yet, "had" would be used in the wrong tense.

Hope I was of help.

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So here's my thoughts... And there is a high chance that I could be very wrong.

I'd go with "had been" or "were"

I have a feeling that it will be followed by a 'but' or 'however'

Therefore, I would use "had been" with "but" and "were" with "however". No idea why, just sounds better.

Please do not take my answer as there are far greater brains here who can help you

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