The meaning of "wouldn't have missed"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by frostie1225, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. frostie1225 Junior Member


    I have a weird question which I met studying a conversation book.

    "I wouldn't have missed this get-together for the world!".

    The part in bold grammatically denotes "things happened in the past".
    But I am sure it means "I won't miss this."

    How can I understand it?
    Can anybody help me out?

  2. ghotioutofh2o Senior Member

    American English
    It's not an actual past tense because of the would. The meaning is close to your "I won't miss this" (which is future: won't = will not). It means "I'd miss everything else for this get together."

    Things did not necessarily happened in the past. From context (this get together), it's a present(-ish) tense. You could change only this to that and make it a past(-ish) tense: "I wouldn't have missed that get together [which we were recently at] for the world"
  3. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    This is a very common set expression, which we use when we have enjoyed something very much or found the experience extremely interesting, valuable, etc. "I wouldn't have missed that [party][trip][conference][movie][lunar eclipse] for the world!"
  4. norwolf Senior Member

    Still, Parla, you mean, it happened in the past not the present.
    And, "I wouldn't have missed this get-together for the world" may be unacceptable.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  5. Mar Rojo Senior Member

    British English
    If I had chosen to do something else, I wouldn't be here now. But, I wouldn't have chosen something else because I wanted to be here.
  6. aes_uk Senior Member

    English - England
    If it was "I wouldn't miss it for the world" then that would be roughly equivalent to "I won't miss this". (The phrase "for the world" always needs the verb to be in the conditional tense.)
    "I wouldn't have missed it for the world" is the past tense and the person is saying that they are very happy that they went - even if something else had come up, it wouldn't have stopped them from going. Perhaps you are not familiar with the would have + past participle structure - it is the past conditional tense.
    For example:
    - "I wouldn't have done that if I were you" - if I had been in your position, that is not how I would have acted.
    - "If I had got the right grades, I would have been able to go to university" - if I had done better in my exams, I would be at university now because I would have been able to go to university.
  7. Mar Rojo Senior Member

    British English
    I agree with aes uk. These are similar:

    I wouldn't have passed this chance up for the world.
    I wouldn't have refused the invitation to be here for the world.
  8. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    To me, this is something a person would say when they are actually at the get-together. They didn't miss it - in fact they are there right now.
  9. Mar Rojo Senior Member

    British English
    Yes, that's right, but they are speaking retrospectively. Hence the use of the present perfect.
  10. PilotoAndres New Member

    US English
    The choice was made in the past. The repercussion is felt right now. The choice was the get-together, or anything in the whole world.
  11. wanabee Senior Member

    Dear all,

    If I had been told the date of the get-together, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

    Even though I actually didn't attend the get-together, would the above sentence work?

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