intend to do vs. intend to have done


Senior Member
I just came across the following sentence, which confuses me.

I intended to have written a letter to you.

Is it possible to put it simply as: "I intended to write a letter to you."?
Or is there any difference in meaning between above two sentences?
Does the first one mean "I intended to write a letter to you, but (actually) I didn't."?

Thank you in advance.

  • sandpiperlily

    Senior Member
    Where did you see this sentence? Can you give us more context?

    In general, the difference here is the difference between the future tense and the future perfect sense.

    "I intend to write" = "my intention now is that at some point in the future, I will write"
    "I intend to have written" = "my intention now is that at some point in the future, I will have already written the letter. At that future time, the letter writing will be in the past. Since I haven't written it yet, I intend the writing to happen sometime between now and that future time."

    The second one in particular will make more sense in context, since that will probably help explain what this mysterious point of reference is for the future time.


    Senior Member
    Hi, sandpiperlily, thank you for your quick reply!

    The sentence is from my English grammar workbook,
    and the question goes like this;

    example) It would have been wiser to have finished my work.
    question) Which of the following sentences (a to e, underlined part) is grammatically same as the example?

    a) I intended to have written a letter to you.
    b) I seem to have heard it once before.
    c) He is said to have lived a happy life.
    d) I happened to have been away all yesterday.
    e) This day week I hope to have finished my work.

    I was wondering if you would help me out :)


    Senior Member
    What a weird question! I think A is the right answer but honestly I'm not sure what it's getting at. Maybe others can weigh in.

    Also a random note: in AmE, we don't say "This day week" but rather "A week from today." I think I've heard that particular turn of phrase from Irish folks; not sure who else might say it.

    Finally, I notice that in my response above, I mis-read "intend" for "intended," which changes the meaning significantly. Apologies for that! to have written a letter to you" means "at some time in the past, I intended


    Senior Member
    Thank you again, sandpiperlily!

    So, it's kind of a weird question... perhaps it's made up by a non-native speaker of English, I guess.
    Anyway, thank you for your pointer, you've helped me a lot!