could/would / have (been) broken up

Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 10:04 am
I didn't care for my family. I was always enjoying myself during my free time. Of course, my wife was sad. In the circumstances, my family could/would have (been) broken up if I had not realized my selfish ways in time and make amends.

Should I use 'could' or 'would'? Is 'been' needed? Any other errors?

Many thanks.
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Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 10:34 pm
Should I use 'could' or 'would'? Is 'been' needed? Any other errors?

could says "there was a possibility" while would says "it was a forgone conclusion.

Using 'been' raises the possibility of it being a passive where some outside agent does the "breaking up".

broken up could carry an adjectival meaning meaning personally hurt and in this 'been' would be needed. It all depends on the meaning you want to convey, Ms Tan.

made amends, not make amends.
Reply Sat 30 May, 2009 10:37 pm
Many thanks. JTT. Smile
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