He would <be><have been> in a good mood, but


Senior Member
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


John has a birthday today. Samantha has just insulted him, so he's in a bad mood. Bob doesn't know anything about it, so he expects John to be in a good mood. Bill knows why John is in a bad mood. After Bob sees John, the dialog below takes place between Bob and Bill.

Sample sentence:

Bob: "Today's John's birthday! Why is he in a bad mood?"

Bill: "He would <be><have been> in a good mood, but Samantha has just insulted him."


Are both options correct in this case?

Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!

  • tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    As the insulting happened in the past, albeit a very recent pat the 'would have been' form is more natural. Either form is OK in 'He would be/have been in a good mood if Samantha hadn't insulted him'.


    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    'He would be in a good mood' sounds better to me since Bob and Bill are talking about John's present state. Is this a BrE-AmE difference?


    Senior Member
    English - England
    "He would be in a good mood" is confusing. You can't tell whether it is type 2 or type 3 conditional without studying the context closely; and even after studying the context you might still be in doubt. So it is OK grammar but awful style.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I'd use the conditional perfect "He would have been in a good mood" [had it not been for Samantha's insult].

    She insulted him, and therefore the possibility of his being in a good mood is now in the past.
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