the guests <couldn't have eaten> it after we <served> dinner

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Senior Member
Hello to all,

Thanks for reading my post.


It's almost midnight. There are several cooks in a restaurant who have just finished cooking. They have been cooking all day long. Some important guests are going to have breakfast, dinner, and supper in the restaurant tomorrow. One of the cooks tastes the soup that another cook has made and says the sentence below.

Sample sentence:

There have been times when you spoiled dishes by adding too much onion. However, your soup tastes good to me. Bear in mind that if you had put too much onion in the soup, the guests couldn't have eaten it after we served dinner tomorrow, and then they wouldn't have been pleased with our restaurant at all.


Do the bolded tenses work with the word "tomorrow"? If so, are the underlined modal verbs "couldn't" and "wouldn't" used correctly?

Thanks a lot for any comments, corrections or suggestions!
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The main problem is that nobody eats soup after dinner! :eek: - Soup is served before the main course.

    The verb should be wouldn't have eaten

    "after we served dinner tomorrow" must be omitted - if it is bad, they would not have eaten it at any time, would they?

    The rest is OK


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Bear in mind that this is such a contrived and unlikely couple of sentences that it hardly seems worth analysing them. The cook is a million times more likely to have said something simple like 'Mmmm, that's good!'


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I'd stick with "couldn't have eaten": the point is that too much onion would have made the soup taste so disgusting they wouldn't have been able to eat it. :eek:

    I think I'd probably change the next verb to the pluperfect "after we had served dinner", because the serving of dinner would precede anybody eating anything.
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