Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 200, reads

If Oswald didn’t shoot Kennedy someone else will have would be appropriate in a context where it was not known that Kennedy was shot.

I cannot understand what this paragraphs tries to explain.

***EDIT: I think there might be a typo, so it'd be hasn't shot instead of didn't shoot. The context is a plot with another assassins in case Oswald didn't succeedm, and the sentence itself is uttered by someone who knows about the plot and it's time of execution -the sentence being uttered after such a time.

  • archive.org/details/…
    – Henry
    Oct 19 '19 at 20:15
  • No - someone else will have shot Kennedy, in the conspiracy theory that Kennedy was going to get shot by someone. This contrasts with If Oswald didn’t shoot Kennedy someone else did which is based on the knowledge that Kennedy was shot so it must have been by someone.
    – Henry
    Oct 20 '19 at 0:09

If Oswald didn't shoot Kennedy someone else will have.

Your edit provides the context for this very bizarre statement.

They're employing the future perfect tense into the passive voice and doing it to convey a sense of possible different outcomes.

That's a mouthful. So, instead let me illustrate it for you:

Assassination plotter (AP) A says: What do you think happened? Do you think Kennedy is dead?

AP B says: We hired a bunch of shooters for this job. If Oswald didn't shoot Kennedy someone else will have.

So, we know that there was a planned assassination attempt. We don't know for sure that it went off correctly. But, we do know that the assassins had a backup plan.

If (the condition arises where) Oswald didn't shoot Kennedy (by the time of the planned assassination -- indicated by the past tense didn't shoot) someone else will have (done it instead of Oswald indicated by the future perfect tense will have).

This type of difficulty parsing the statement is why many style manuals warn against using the passive voice.

You could make this whole thing clearer by saying:

If Oswald did not shoot Kennedy, one of the other guys did.


Looks like it's trying to contrast the sentence with the similar sounding "If Oswald didn’t shoot Kennedy someone else did."

In this version, the conclusion follows from a strong belief that Kennedy's been shot (if not by Oswald then clearly by someone else). The other sentence, however, might have been the response to someone saying "I hear Kennedy's been shot. Do you think it was Oswald?". Because Kennedy's shooting isn't a given, the conclusion is presented more weakly: someone else will have (not did).

  • Not 'did', 'would have'. Oct 19 '19 at 20:01
  • but that doesn't seem like a context where it was not known that Kennedy was shot, for it'd have said not known for certain/sure
    – GJC
    Oct 19 '19 at 20:02
  • The book is comparing it to both.
    – Uri Granta
    Oct 19 '19 at 20:03
  • Based on reading the chapter that was my understanding. The other example (if it rained last night, they match will have been cancelled) also indicates a conclusion based on not knowing for sure (whether matches can be played in the rain)
    – Uri Granta
    Oct 19 '19 at 20:08
  • I suggest the sentence means that if Kennedy had not been shot on that day, somebody else would have shot him at a future time – rather than questioning whether Oswald was the killer. Oct 19 '19 at 20:42

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