Is this sentence grammatically correct ?

  • They were not going to stop no matter how hard you would have tried .

You would have tried.

This is expressing a hypothetical situation (modally remote) where would marks the situation as unlikely and have marks past time, e.g.

If you had been there, you would have tried.

no matter introduces an exhaustive conditional, so

no matter how hard you would have tried

is in this case our condition (protasis), and

they were not going to stop

is our outcome (apodosis) in a remote conditional construction.

There are some general rules for these constructions (CaGEL p751)

The form of remote conditionals

Tense and mood restrictions

The verb of the protasis must be the irrealis form were or a preterite with the modal remoteness meaning. The verb of the apodosis must be a modal auxiliary; this too must be a modally remote preterite, except where the modal has only a present tense form.

So it follows that your example is ungrammatical because the verb in the outcome (apodosis)

They were not going to stop

is not a modal auxiliary.

It could be fixed thusly:

No matter how hard you would have tried, they would not have stopped.

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  • 'They were not going to stop no matter how hard you tried' sounds acceptable in an informal register to my ears. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 30 at 10:43
  • Sure, but that would no longer be a remote conditional as the preterite tried simply marks past time, not modal remoteness. This question was concerned with the would have + past participle construction. – DW256 Jun 30 at 11:08

Grammatically? Not in my opinion. I'd leave out the "would have". IMO saying/writing "would have" and "tried" is redundant since they're both relating to something (in this case "trying") that is past tense.

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