1

Boss tells his workers:

(1) You are to finish this project by the end of next month.

(2) You are to have finished this project by the end of next month.

After a while, one of the workers tells his boss:

(3) You said we were to finish this project by the end of next month, but we encountered problems and so can't do it in time.

(4) You said we were to have finished this project by the end of next month, but we encountered problems and so can't do it in time.

Are (1) & (2) both natural?

Are (3) & (4) both natural?

Hope to hear both Britain and American speakers. Thanks!

7
  • 1
    I'd say it's more natural to say have this project finished. But both tenses are fine. Also, it would sound better (to me) if you are to were replaced with you should. May 4, 2020 at 20:31
  • Jason Bassford, will it be correct if we replace "were to" with "should" in (3) & (4)? Thanks!
    – Loviii
    May 4, 2020 at 20:42
  • 1
    Yes, that would also work. Or you said we had to … May 4, 2020 at 20:43
  • I'm still new here but I'm always wondering why such great answers, @Jason Bassford, are kept in the comments. It happens many places. Thank you.
    – Elliot
    May 5, 2020 at 3:49
  • @Elliot First, I voted to close the question as opinion based. Anybody answering it will just be saying what they think is natural—and a list of individual opinions doesn't really belong here. Second, the comments I gave are no more than just saying these things and others all sound natural. That might work at ELL, but not here. That doesn't make a good answer. May 5, 2020 at 4:01

0

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.