I am to go / to have been

Prower

Banned
Russian
I am trying to find out some things which rub off on choosing a certain type of infinitive. Could you share your thoughts on the following

I am to go there. - is a normal sentence.

Could you explain why (if it is possible) the following are not idiomatic. I hope you will omit the explanation like - We just don't say it this why

Becuase technically these sentences are ok

I am to have been here for 2 hours.

I have been to be here for 2 hours.


I know I deliberately make them awkward but this is one of the way how we learn right things by eliminating wrong things.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Who says they're not idiomatic, Prower? They'd be fine in the right circumstances.

    If you mean those contructions aren't common - yes, that's true. But that's simply because circumstances don't often arise when we'd need to use them.


    EDIT: Ooops - sorry, I answered too quickly. I read "I have been to be here" as "I have to have been here":(.
     
    Last edited:

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Because technically these sentences are ok

    I am to have been here for 2 hours.
    I have been to be here for 2 hours.
    Well, that's one person's opinion -- just not mine. :)

    Corrections of the first one for me would be:
    I am to be here for 2 hours.
    I was to have been here for 2 hours.

    And I don't know what to do with this one to please myself, so I'll leave it incorrect:
    I have been to be here for 2 hours.
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    To tell you the truth you are the first one who says they can be.)))) (addressed to LOOB)

    This one

    I am to have been here for 2 hours.

    has always been seen as a wrong sentence by those whom I asked.

    So, you are saying that it is not wrong, aren't you?

    When would you use the second one?


    I have been to be here for 2 hours.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Sorry, Prower - see my EDIT to my first post: I wouldn't use the second one.

    As regards the first one, let's see....

    Sean Connery is coming here at 10 tomorrow. By the time he arrives, I'm to have been here for 2 hours, just to make sure that no fans can get in and lie in wait for him.

    The same context would also work for "I have to have been here for 2 hours" (or in my case, more probably, "I've got to have been here for 2 hours").
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    I see Loob.

    So it works with the future prefect.

    Can it work with the past?

    I am to have been here for 2 hours. = I was supposed to be here for 2 hours.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Can it work with the past?

    I am to have been here for 2 hours. = I was supposed to be here for 2 hours.
    No, it wouldn't, Prower. I was to have been here for 2 hours would work (as Copyright says above).
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    No, it wouldn't, Prower. I was to have been here for 2 hours would work (as Copyright says above).
    I knew it, but could you explain, at least try to, why it doesn't work this way. I know it is a difficult question but if you can answer I would appreciate a lot.

    Another thing

    I was to have been here for 2 hours AND I was to be here for two hours.


    What's the difference?

    Imagine it is 10 AM. What is the time which would each sentence mean?

    I think that I was to be here for two hours. means 8 AM

    What does the first one mean?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I knew it, but could you explain, at least try to, why it doesn't work this way. I know it is a difficult question but if you can answer I would appreciate a lot.
    I am to do X has a future meaning
    I was to do X has a future-in-the past meaning.

    Imagine it is 10 AM. What is the time which would each sentence mean?
    In I was to have been here for 2 hours, the "2 hours" refers to the hours from 8am to 10am; in I was to be here for two hours, the "2 hours" refers to the hours from 10am to mid-day.
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    I am to do X has a future meaning
    I was to do X has a future-in-the past meaning.
    Exactly, but you are not using PERFECT INFINITIVE in your examples.

    This is where the "porblem" starts as PERHECT INFINITIVE implies the PAST.

    For example

    I know him to have been a doctor.

    Know - means the present
    to have been - means the past

    And they work great together in this example.

    However, if we us TO BE then it doesn't sound correct. This is what makes me wonder.

    I am to have been there = I know hime to have been a doctor.

    am = know
    to have been = to have been

    Do you see the issue?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Do you see the issue?
    Well, no ... not really;).

    Let's take a step back.

    I am to go is similar (in timing terms) to I will go. The past of I am to go is I was to go.
    I am to have gone is similar (in timing terms) to I will have gone. The past of I am to have gone is I was to have gone.

    He said: "I will leave tomorrow" > He said he would leave the next day.
    He said: "I am to leave tomorrow" > He said he was to leave the next day.

    He said: "I will have left by tomorrow" > He said he would have left by the next day.
    He said: "I am to have left by tomorrow" > He said he was to have left by the next day.
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    In I was to have been here for 2 hours, the "2 hours" refers to the hours from 8am to 10am; in I was to be here for two hours, the "2 hours" refers to the hours from 10am to mid-day.
    How can it be?

    It is 10 AM now. And I say at 10 AM SHARP -

    I was to be here for two hours. (it means that I will be here for two hours in your opinion)

    How was can imply the future here????

    Shouldn't it be?

    I am to be here for 2 hours. (I thought this is the right one)


    As for the second one

    the perfect infinitive doesn't express a future action, right?

    A predicate verb here is was which is in the past, plus we have a perfect infinitive which refers to another past.

    In othere words. If it is 10 AM now then was may refer to 9 AM while to have been should refer to the time before 9 AM.

    If I say

    I knew him to have been a doctor. (it means that I knew in 2005 that he was a doctor before 2005.) So I learnt that he had been a doctor after he became one.

    I knew him to be a doctor. (means that his being a doctor and me knowing about it are happening at the same time)

    This is why I can't understand (so far) how

    I was to have been here for 2 hours, the "2 hours" refers to the hours from 8am to 10am.

    I see it as I should have been there for 2 hours before 8 AM.
     
    Last edited:

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    Well, no ... not really;).

    Let's take a step back.

    I am to go is similar (in timing terms) to I will go. The past of I am to go is I was to go.
    I am to have gone is similar (in timing terms) to I will have gone. The past of I am to have gone is I was to have gone.
    Ok. So, what does this sentence mean?

    I know him to have been a doctor.

    Does it mean that he will be a doctor or that he was a doctor?
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    It might help to add "supposed" (which is what is implied anyway).

    I am supposed to be here, I was supposed to be here, etc.

    By the way, we don't say

    I was supposed to have been here.

    But it turns out that

    I was supposed to be here = I was to have been here.


    This is what confuses me

    I can't understand why we use different types of infinitive and get the same result (while the predicate verbs are in the same tense)

    I was supposed = I was = PAST SIMPLE

    to be - means future
    to have been - means future (this is what I also don't understand why PERFECT INFINITIVE means future here)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    By the way, we don't say

    I was supposed to have been here.
    Why not? We certainly could.
    But it turns out that

    I was supposed to be here = I was to have been here.
    Not true. I was supposed to be = I was to be. I was supposed to have been = I was to have been.
    to be - means future
    to have been - means future (this is what I also don't understand why PERFECT INFINITIVE means future here)
    Be to (I am to) means future. Not "to be", or "to have been".
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    He has been a doctor.
    This is what I also think. So you see PERFECT INFINITIVE in this sentence means a past action. But when we use TO BE as a predicate verb PERFECT INFINITIVE implies future....IT's a mystery for me)))

    I was to have been here = I was supposed to be here

    It started at 8 AM and has been advancing into the future.


    (I might be missing something but all these things don't put together in my mind in one logical system. This is why I am asking to many questions)

    Thanks for your answers any way.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    One last try. The have in "I have been", "I will have been", "I want to have been" implies that something has been completed at or by a certain datum point. The datum point could be in the present, the past or the future; the word "have" itself doesn't tell you.
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    Not true. I was supposed to be = I was to be. I was supposed to have been = I was to have been.


    In the POST 7 you said


    No, it wouldn't, Prower. I was to have been here for 2 hours would work (as Copyright says above).
    This is why I see that

    I was supposed to be here for 2 hours = I was to have been here for 2 hours


    Otherwise what does I was supposed to be here for 2 hours mean?

    Doesn't it mean that I had to come at 8 AM and stay till 10 AM?

    I think you said that I was to have been here for 2 hours had the same meaning.

    The SECOND POINT

    I can't agree on that

    Be to (I am to) means future. Not "to be", or "to have been".


    The infinitive by itself has an inclination of timing.

    I remember to post the letter.
    What makes this sentence imply the future? If you say the verb remember then it is not true because

    I remember he was there. or I remember to have posted the letters (this example sounds incorrect for the modern generation but can be found in the old books)

    Another example
    We can survive in the future to come

    It is obviuous that the future WILL come later and the infinitive to come provides this meaning

    Do you agree or am I mistaken here?
     

    Prower

    Banned
    Russian
    One last try. The have in "I have been", "I will have been", "I want to have been" implies that something has been completed at or by a certain datum point. The datum point could be in the present, the past or the future; the word "have" itself doesn't tell you.
    Loob, the examples you gave are from different groups

    I have been", "I will have been" have nothing to do with "I want to have been"

    Because in your first two examples we don't have the infinitive while the third one is fine.
     

    Elle Paris

    Senior Member
    American English
    By the way, we don't say

    I was supposed to have been here.

    But it turns out that

    I was supposed to be here = I was to have been here.

    This is what confuses me

    I can't understand why we use different types of infinitive and get the same result (while the predicate verbs are in the same tense)

    I was supposed = I was = PAST SIMPLE

    to be - means future
    to have been - means future (this is what I also don't understand why PERFECT INFINITIVE means future here)
    I was supposed to be here but I wasn't. I was to be here but I never got the work order so I didn't come.
    I was supposed to have been here by 10 am. but I arrived late.

    Perhaps you could replace "supposed" by "scheduled" to understand better.
    Future: I am (scheduled) to speak at the convention tomorrow.
     
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