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After having delivered hasty and thus unprecise analyses, I have calmly considered the problem you raised: It shows you're quite keen at French, because indeed you detected a mistake: I can affirm that, in that sentence, Alexandre Dumas effectively made a mistake (but after all, the law "errare humanum est" can apply even to a great author, can't it?). ...


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I believe this is conditionnel passé II simply because it is not a "que" construct, and does not express a desire, wish, emotion, obligation, doubt or uncertainty. Using the imparfait in this case would be equivalent to using the conditionel présent, and would be incorrect. The other option you have is to use the conditionel passé I, or "comme si elles ...



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