I would have given a pretty penny

Allegro molto

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello

What a great asset to the traveler....I would have given a pretty penny to have had such access.
I could listen to a local radio station and get the weather for that county, but tough knowing what is going on 100 miles down the road.
I am ONE DUDE that appreciates modern technology much more than "the good old days".
(from Great Weather Map, Truck Driver and Trucking Forums)
http://www.layover.com/forums/layovers-lounge/t-great-weather-map-123413.html#post788669

What does the construction 'I would have given a pretty penny to infinitive' mean?

Thank you
 
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    The set phrase 'a pretty penny' means 'a lot of money'.

    The writer is saying that he would have given a lot of money to have had the kind of access he has described.

    The infinitive 'to have had' is expressing purpose. It is possible to include the phrase 'in order' in such a case.
    'He went to great lengths [in order] to master the new language'.
     

    Allegro molto

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you very much for your replies, Keith Bradford and wandle.

    I would like to know if the construction is used to express tribute or praise in this case.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    It means literally that he puts a high money value on such access. This implies a high degree of approval.
    The sense in this case appears rather to be regret that he did not have that access.
     
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