should/would/could have

Hal1fax

Member
Canada, English
So I know powinienem/bylbym/moglbym are should/would/could but how would you say should have, would have, and could have as in past tense?
 
  • Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    So I know powinienem/bylbym/moglbym are should/would/could but how would you say should have, would have, and could have as in past tense?
    Hi,

    You would be best off if you gave some examples.

    Generally it is:
    should have done something - powinienem był coś zrobić
    would have done something - byłbym coś zrobił
    could have done somehing - mogłembył coś zrobić
    Note that these are forms for the first person singular of masculine gender.

    These are, however, rarely used by Poles. It also depends on the sentence, so if you provide samples it will be much easier to elaborate on the topic you're intereseted in. :)

    Tom

    PS: would is not byłbym as far as I know, but rather a verb plus bym (conjugated for each person), e.g.: I would go there again. --> Pojechałbym tam jeszcze raz.
     

    slavian1

    Member
    Poland, Polish
    Hi,

    You would be best off if you gave some examples.

    Generally it is:
    should have done something - powinienem był coś zrobić
    would have done something - byłbym coś zrobił
    could have done somehing - mogłembył coś zrobić
    Note that these are forms for the first person singular of masculine gender.

    I would rather translate could have done as mógłbymbył.

    These are, however, rarely used by Poles. It also depends on the sentence, so if you provide samples it will be much easier to elaborate on the topic you're intereseted in. :)

    The forms quoted by Thomas1 are forms of Plusquamperfectum tense (Czas zaprzeszły) which is obsolate in modern Polish language, though sometimes could be heared.
    Proper traslation should be:

    should have done something - powinienem wtedy to zrobić
    could have done somehing - mogłem wtedy to zrobić
    if I would have done - gdybym wtedy to zrobił (generally used in conditional stenences).

    wtedy lietrally means 'then'.
     

    ryba

    Senior Member
    The forms quoted by Thomas1 are forms of Plusquamperfectum tense (Czas zaprzeszły) which is obsolate in modern Polish language, though sometimes could be heared.

    Proper traslation should be:

    should have done something - powinienem wtedy to zrobić
    could have done somehing - mogłem wtedy to zrobić
    if I would have done - gdybym wtedy to zrobił (generally used in conditional sentenences).

    wtedy lietrally means 'then'.

    Yeah, you can also omit the "wtedy" thing and thus there would be no formal difference between I should have been and I should be, etc.

    You have tree options:

    :arrow: I should have done it. - 1. Powinienem był to zrobić. 2. Powinienem wtedy to zrobić. 3. Powinienem to zrobić.

    I think wtedy sounds artificial in here.

    :arrow: I could have done it. - 1. Mogłem był to zrobić. 2. Mogłem wtedy to zrobić. 3. Mogłem to zrobić.

    Notice that in this case wtedy is redundant/unnecessary, you know that the person is talking about a possibility in the past, because Mogłem is a past tense form only, there is no confusion with the presence possible.

    The only case where wtedy sounds O.K. I can think of right now are sentences like "Mogłem to zrobić wtedy." (I could have done it then.) where "wtedy" was the most opportune moment and the one who's talking just didn't take advantage of it.:)

    "Mogłem był to zrobić." is redundant as well when applied to a situation of SOMEONE TALKING NOW ABOUT THE PAST but it doesn't sound that bad. It does make sense and I consider it useful to use the Plusquamperfectum in a sitiuatione where SOMEONE's TALKING NOW ABOUT THE PAST AND THERE IS THE THIRD LEVEL, STH BEFORE "THE PAST", THE PAST IN THE PAST. I know it sounds strange, hehe, let's use an example:

    I couldn't have done it then, it was impossible but I could have had done it a week before. - Nie mogłem tego zrobić wtedy, to było niemożliwe, ale mogłem był to zrobić tydzień wcześniej.

    I agree thar in general using the Plusquamperfectum tense is quite old-fashioned but, believe me or not, I use it all the time in the sentences with should have and I am 21 years old.;) I also use it in the sentences with could have had, which isn't that common, I am a minority but I think it is good not to loose something that lets you speak with more precision.

    In conclusion, I stongly recommend you that you use "Powinni byli to zrobić."for "They should have done it". and "Powinni to zrobić." for "They should do it." but don't be surprised when you see "Powinni to zrobić." meaning "They should've done it".:)

    If I would have done - gdybym wtedy to zrobił (generally used in conditional sentenences).

    It seems to me we got a lil' mistake here. "Gdybym to był zrobił" would stand for "If I had done that" = "If I should do it".

    I think it should go like that:

    :arrow: I would have done it. - Zrobiłbym to.

    Example: I would have done it if it hadn't been raining. - Zrobiłbym to, gdyby nie padało (gdyby nie padał deszcz).

    I think I would have done the same thing. - Myślę, że zrobiłbym to samo.

    I didn't write any frase in the Plusquamperfectum because I think "
    zrobiłbym był" sounds just too cacophonic and obsolete. Depending on the context, "Zrobiłbym to samo." may mean either "I would have done the same thing." or "I would do the same thing.", but in the second case it tends to be accompanied by some kind of condition, out of a conditional sentence it sounds kind of incomplete.

    My English has gotten quite rusty, I must have made loads of mistakes.
    :D
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Come to think of it I guess it should rather read
    [...]could have done somehing - mogłem był coś zrobić[...]

    I would rather translate could have done as mógłbym był.
    [...]
    Contrary to the czas zaprzeszły. I'm not sure if I've ever heard mógłbym był. :confused:
    Ryba, sorry but I couldn't be bothered to edit your post so I simply wrote in it.
    Yeah, you can also omit the "wtedy" thing and thus there would be no formal difference between I should have been and I should be, etc.

    You have tree options:

    :arrow: I should have done it. - 1. Powinienem był to zrobić. 2. Powinienem wtedy to zrobić. 3. Powinienem to zrobić.

    I think wtedy sounds artificial in here.
    To me the first option sounds best; the second one sounds as if a person tries to emphasise the moment that's why it sounds so; the third one is what most Poles would go for.

    :arrow: I could have done it. - 1. Mogłem był to zrobić. 2. Mogłem wtedy to zrobić. 3. Mogłem to zrobić.

    Notice that in this case wtedy is redundant/unnecessary, you know that the person is talking about a possibility in the past, because Mogłem is a past tense form only, there is no confusion with the presence possible.

    The only case where wtedy sounds O.K. I can think of right now are sentences like "Mogłem to zrobić wtedy." (I could have done it then.) where "wtedy" was the most opportune moment and the one who's talking just didn't take advantage of it.:)
    It is fine when you contrast the clause with some other that informs a reader when you actually performed the action.

    "Mogłem był to zrobić." is redundant as well when applied to a situation of SOMEONE TALKING NOW ABOUT THE PAST but it doesn't sound that bad. It does make sense and I consider it useful to use the Plusquamperfectum in a sitiuatione where SOMEONE's TALKING NOW ABOUT THE PAST AND THERE IS THE THIRD LEVEL, STH BEFORE "THE PAST", THE PAST IN THE PAST. I know it sounds strange, hehe, let's use an example:

    I couldn't have done it then, it was impossible but I could have had done it a week before. - Nie mogłem tego zrobić wtedy, to było niemożliwe, ale mogłem był to zrobić tydzień wcześniej.
    I think I couldn't have done it then actually says that the action was performed and you are trying to convince your interlocutour that it wasn't you who did it, but someone else so it's a different could from the second one; e.g.:
    --Someone broke the vase my father brought from China at the party three weeks ago.
    --I couldn't have done it then, it was impossible (I was home poring over inchoative verbs). However, I could have done it a week earlier.:D
    I am not sure but translating the first could as nie mogłembym był stłuc is not feasible??? The wording would certainly draw my attention, what do others think?
    Another interesting nuance--can you think of expressing the same but with a slight change:
    I can't have done it then, it was impossible, but I could have done it a week earlier.?

    I agree thar in general using the Plusquamperfectum tense is quite old-fashioned but, believe me or not, I use it all the time in the sentences with should have and I am 21 years old.;) I also use it in the sentences with could have had, which isn't that common, I am a minority but I think it is good not to loose something that lets you speak with more precision.
    I don't know if I use it, but I like when someone does, it gives a sort of an educated ring to it andoroves that the speaker has a very good command of Polish.

    In conclusion, I stongly recommend you that you use "Powinni byli to zrobić."for "They should have done it". and "Powinni to zrobić." for "They should do it." but don't be surprised when you see "Powinni to zrobić." meaning "They should've done it".:)

    If I would have done - gdybym wtedy to zrobił (generally used in conditional sentenences).

    It seems to me we got a lil' mistake here. "Gdybym to był zrobił" would stand for "If I had done that" = "If I should do it".
    Gdybym wtedy to zrobił is also one of the possibilities here.

    I think it should go like that:

    :arrow: I would have done it. - Zrobiłbym to.

    Example: I would have done it if it hadn't been raining. - Zrobiłbym to, gdyby nie padało (gdyby nie padał deszcz).

    I think I would have done the same thing. - Myślę, że zrobiłbym to samo.

    I didn't write any frase in the Plusquamperfectum because I think "zrobiłbym był" sounds just too cacophonic and obsolete. Depending on the context, "Zrobiłbym to samo." may mean either "I would have done the same thing." or "I would do the same thing.", but in the second case it tends to be accompanied by some kind of condition, out of a conditional sentence it sounds kind of incomplete.
    I think it depends on the wording since I can accept Byłbym to zrobił gdyby nie padało...
    [...]
    Also note that the powinienem wtedy (to) zrobić may be also used for future reference:
    Zakładając, że się pojawi, co powinienem wtedy zrobić?

    Tom
     

    dn88

    Senior Member
    Polish
    There seems to be more Google hits for "mogłem był" than for "mógłbym był". I don't know, I myself wouldn't use "mogłem był" as it strikes my ears as totally old-sounding.
     

    Oletta

    Senior Member
    I can't agree with the translation of "I should have done it" into "Powinienem to zrobić", as "powinienem to zrobić" or "powinnam to zrobić" refers to the present or the future, never to the past activity. Thus the sentence "I should have done it" is best translated as "Powinien był to zrobić" or "Powinna była to zrobić", "wtedy",to make the translation more precise, can be added when the English sentence contains "then": "He should have done it then".

    but

    In colloquial Polish, people do omit "był" or "była" when they say "when" the activity happened:

    "Powinna to zrobić wczoraj" etc.

    Without "wczoraj", we say "był, "była".

    "Powinna była to zrobić" ---- "ale nie zrobiła"...

    We often put a stress on był/była, when we feel angry that someone hasn't fulfilled his/her promise to do something. Although the colloquial Polish omits "był/była", it is still frequently used in the formal language... Everything depends what kind of people you talk to in your every day life.


     

    ryba

    Senior Member
    I second every statement you made, Tom.:thumbsup:
    ryba wrote:

    "Mogłem był to zrobić." is redundant as well when applied to a situation of SOMEONE TALKING NOW ABOUT THE PAST but it doesn't sound that bad. It does make sense and I consider it useful to use the Plusquamperfectum in a sitiuatione where SOMEONE's TALKING NOW ABOUT THE PAST AND THERE IS THE THIRD LEVEL, STH BEFORE "THE PAST", THE PAST IN THE PAST. I know it sounds strange, hehe, let's use an example:

    I couldn't have done it then, it was impossible but I could have had done it a week before. - Nie mogłem tego zrobić wtedy, to było niemożliwe, ale mogłem był to zrobić tydzień wcześniej.
    I think I couldn't have done it then actually says that the action was performed and you are trying to convince your interlocutour that it wasn't you who did it, but someone else so it's a different could from the second one; e.g.:
    --Someone broke the vase my father brought from China at the party three weeks ago.
    --I couldn't have done it then, it was impossible (I was home poring over inchoative verbs). However, I could have done it a week earlier.:D
    I am not sure but translating the first could as nie mogłembym był stłuc is not feasible??? The wording would certainly draw my attention, what do others think?
    I was having many doubts writing that part, hehe. Originally I'd intended to use *"I could have had done it" with the meaning of "I wish I had done it, I was able to do it then (but actually I didn't and I lost my opportunity)" but then I reminded "could have" is primarily used to express probability, just like you pointed out.

    In any case in Spanish (the origin of the mistake I made:D) it would be something like that:

    Entonces no podía hacerlo, era imposible, pero podía haberlo hecho una semana antes.- Nie mogłem tego zrobić wtedy, to było niemożliwe, ale mogłem był to zrobić tydzień wcześniej.

    ----(
    una semana antes, a week before, tydzień wcześniej)-----(entonces, then, wtedy)----- NOW-------------> time
    ----It is possible to do it.------------------------------------It is no longer possible.-------No longer.----> time

    lol


    So, I should have had done the thing before it was too late.-

    1) Powinienem był to był zrobić tydzień wcześniej. (I have NO idea if something like that exists nor do I know what the sentence order should look like:D)

    2) Powinienem był to zrobić tydzień wcześniej. (correct)

    3)
    Powinienem to zrobić tydzień wcześniej. (colloquial/familiar, not recommended, but widely used)

    Co o tym s
    ądzicie? (What do you think?):confused:
     

    ryba

    Senior Member
    ]"Powinna to zrobić wczoraj" etc.

    Without "wczoraj", we say "był, "była".

    "Powinna była to zrobić" ---- "ale nie zrobiła"...
    [/color]
    Good point. It should be like that.

    However, doesn't a conversation like this:

    Basia: Słuchaj, Krzysiek, Anka zadzwoniła wczoraj do szefa? (Hey, Cris, did Anna call the boss yesterday?)
    Krzysiek: Nie. (Nop.)
    Basia: Uuuu, a powinna. Prosił, żeby ktoś się z nim skontaktował przed spotkaniem. (Oh, she should have, he wanted someone to get in contact with him before the meeting.)

    sound familiar?

    You know Basia and Krzysiek are talking about a phonecall Anka should have done yesterday by the context, if Krzysiek hadn't used "wczoraj" in the question, one wouldn't know whether it's too late for her to call or not. Now, the question is, can Basia speak polish?:p

    "Uuu, a powinna była." sounds emphatic/old-fashioned. I personally would say "Uuu, a miała zadzwonić" (Oh, she was supposed to...) in this case, I think.

    "Uuu" may mean you disapporove of or that you're not happy about sth you've just found out.:p

    I've just typed "Powinienem to zrobić wczesniej" in Google. All the sentences on the first results page refer to the past, althought, theoretically they shouldn't.
     

    Hal1fax

    Member
    Canada, English
    Sorry to bring this back up but couldn't you also use the passed tense of 'miec' for should have like 'mialo byc', it should have been...?
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Sorry to bring this back up but couldn't you also use the passed tense of 'miec' for should have like 'mialo byc', it should have been...?
    It can be.
    It should have been done. To powinno być zrobione. I wouldn't use To powinno było być zrobione here, it goes clunk.
    It think that more literally
    To miało być zrobione would be It was to have been done, can you confirm?


    Tom
     

    ryba

    Senior Member
    It can be.
    It should have been done. To powinno być zrobione. I wouldn't use To powinno było być zrobione here, it goes clunk.
    It think that more literally
    To miało być zrobione would be It was to have been done, can you confirm?


    Tom
    Hi again!

    Let's imagine the mecanic didn't install air bleeds upon block replacement.

    I would say:

    1) Powinien był to zrobić.

    2) To powinno być zrobione. (but it hasn't been done and I've got a problem:D)

    3) To powinno było być zrobione. (yeah, but now everything's fixed and the problem doesn't exist for me; I'm talking about the past that doesn't affect me any more)

    The third sentence doesn't sound O.K. to you, Thomas, because you'd probably use something more specific like To powinno było być zainstalowane., To powinno było zostać zainstalowane. or Powinny były zostać zainstalowane. Maybe you'd use To powinno było być zrobione. to say It should have had been done.?

    When you say To miało być zrobione. you can mean both 2) and 3) not only that. Note that using the impersonal mieć + past participle you don't specify whether you know it was/has been done or not.
    To miało być...= It was supposed to...
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Hi again!

    Let's imagine the mecanic didn't install air bleeds upon block replacement.

    I would say:

    1) Powinien był to zrobić.

    2) To powinno być zrobione. (but it hasn't been done and I've got a problem:D)

    3) To powinno było być zrobione. (yeah, but now everything's fixed and the problem doesn't exist for me; I'm talking about the past that doesn't affect me any more)

    The third sentence doesn't sound O.K. to you, Thomas, because you'd probably use something more specific like To powinno było być zainstalowane., To powinno było zostać zainstalowane. or Powinny były zostać zainstalowane. Maybe you'd use To powinno było być zrobione. to say It should have had been done.?
    I read this post of yours a few days ago and I didn't like the sentences at first, and now I like them more. :D I was going to say yes, Ryba, but weighing these sentences I guess it would still be more common to say To powinno być zrobione (plus very often some additional info, e.g. na piątek, już dawno, etc.). I would agree with you on that usage from at least one reason, it does seem the most logical way to put it this way, however, we may well be, or at least I am, too contaminated by other languages which makes things a little bit more difficult to judge and I incline to think that the actual usage differs here.
    I don't see a problem with active though:
    Powinien był to zrobić/ zainstalować...
    The problem with the third sentence, and the alternatives you offered, is that it has too many verbs and this makes up some sort of dissonance to me. It would be of assistance to hear what others think. :)

    Tom
     

    ryba

    Senior Member
    I read this post of yours a few days ago and I didn't like the sentences at first, and now I like them more. :D I was going to say yes, Ryba, but weighing these sentences I guess it would still be more common to say To powinno być zrobione (plus very often some additional info, e.g. na piątek, już dawno, etc.).
    :thumbsup:

    Yes, I'm afraid the simple form is much more common in all contexts.

    I am contaminated by other languages too :D and, maybe because of that, I love the past forms (powinienem był instead of the unfortunately;) more common powinienem which is a present tense form) when referring to the past, for me they are a sign of linguistic elegance.

    Once you have specified though (na piątek, już dawno, etc.), using the past form may seem redundant, I agree, and then I omit był in most conversations myself.
     
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