I regret having done / to have done something

Stephanagreg

Senior Member
FRANCE FRENCH
I would spontaneoulsly have used a gerund after the verb "regret", as in "I regretted not having bought / not buying the house while the interest rates vere low" since regrets occur in connection with acts that one has actually performed (or not performed).

However, I discovered a significant number of occurrences of sentences featuring the structure "I regret not to have done something" on Google.
Could I ask you if you would consider such kind of sentences as acceptable ?

Many thanks in advance for your help.
 
  • haywire

    Senior Member
    US - English
    I would spontaneoulsly have used a gerund after the verb "regret", as in "I regretted not having bought / not buying the house while the interest rates vere low" since regrets occur in connection with acts that one has actually performed (or not performed).

    However, I discovered a significant number of occurrences of sentences featuring the structure "I regret not to have done something" on Google.
    Could I ask you if you would consider such sentences acceptable?

    Many thanks in advance for your help.
    I don't quite understand the question.

    But if you're asking if the following sounds ok in present:

    "I regret not buying the house while the interest rates were low."

    Then I would say yes.
     

    Stephanagreg

    Senior Member
    FRANCE FRENCH
    Thanks, haywire.

    But would you say that

    "I regret not to have bought the house while the interest rates were low"

    is OK too ?
     

    herrkeinname

    Senior Member
    Polish
    No, it's wrong.

    I regret to tell you that you've failed you exam. (to my disappointment I have to inform you that...)
    You regret wasting your time instead of learning for your exam. (now you know you should have learnt more)

    It's the way I understand this grammatical rule but I may be wrong :)
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Thanks, haywire.

    But would you say that

    "I regret not to have bought the house while the interest rates were low"

    is OK too ?
    I was going to say that only the gerund was right - but the sentence you quote does sound believable. My gut instinct is that the gerund is standard but the infinitive a regional variant somewhere. I wouldn't recommend it since it does sound a bit strange to me - but perhaps it's acceptable somewhere else.

    "I regret to tell you..." is always correct. I can't think of another sentence like this (which is different in that it refers to the future or present, as opposed to the past like the other "regret" sentences) so maybe it's best viewed as an exception.
     

    broud

    Senior Member
    Spain - Spanish
    I learnt at school that regret is followed by an infinitive "only" to announce bad news:
    I regret to inform you ..

    My advice is to use a concordancer or maybe one of the web interfaces to the BNC instead of google. But I don't trust "school teachers" very much so if there's enough evidence ... :)

    Corrections are welcome

    Cheers
     
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