would like to have done/ would have liked to do

< Previous | Next >

megamega

Member
Polish
Is there any difference betweent these pairs of t sentences:

1a I didn't know she lives in London. I would like to have visited her when I was there.
1b I didn't know she lives in London. I would have liked to visit her.

2a We would like to have gone away, but we were to busy at home.
2b We would have liked to go away, but we were to busy at home.

Thanks in advance!
 
  • airportzombie

    Senior Member
    English - CaE/AmE
    1a I didn't know she lives in London. I would like to have visited her when I was there.
    1b I didn't know she lives in London. I would have liked to visit her.

    2a We would like to have gone away, but we were to busy at home.
    2b We would have liked to go away, but we were to busy at home.
    The tenses don't seem to match up very well. I would expect the following:

    1a. I didn't know she lives in London. I would have liked to have visited her when I was there. [past]
    1b. I didn't know she lives in London. I would like to visit her. [present]

    2a. We would have liked to have gone away, but we were too busy at home. [past]
    2b. We would like to go away, but we are too busy at home. [present]​


    Unfortunately, I can't explain why.
     

    neal41

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Is there any difference betweent these pairs of t sentences:

    1a I didn't know she lives in London. I would like to have visited her when I was there.
    1b I didn't know she lives in London. I would have liked to visit her.

    2a We would like to have gone away, but we were to busy at home.
    2b We would have liked to go away, but we were to busy at home.
    'I would like' is a polite way to say 'I want'. I believe that it is used mostly in the present tense. "I would like to leave now" is a more polite, less demanding way to say "I want to leave now". In the past tense, you are reporting something that already happened. You can just use 'want'. There is no reason to soften it.

    I think that people say things like 1a and 2a, but they sound convoluted and awkward to me. 1b and 2b are OK. 2b could be "We wanted to go away but we were too busy at home". Note the spelling of 'too'. In the case of 1b you can't use 'wanted' because you did not know that it was possible to visit her. You did not want it because you did not know it was possible. I am not entirely sure when you can substitute 'wanted' and when you cannot.
     

    megamega

    Member
    Polish
    Thanks for your answers.
    My English grammar (by Raymond Murphy) says: "I would like to have done something = I regret now that I didn't or couldn't do it". And later: "You can use the same structure after would love, would hate, would prefer. Example: I'd love to have gone to the party, but it was impossible."
    Seems that the meaning is similar to "I would have loved to go to the party, but it was impossible.
    But am I right?
     

    neal41

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My English grammar (by Raymond Murphy) says: "I would like to have done something = I regret now that I didn't or couldn't do it". And later: "You can use the same structure after would love, would hate, would prefer. Example: I'd love to have gone to the party, but it was impossible."
    Seems that the meaning is similar to "I would have loved to go to the party, but it was impossible.
    But am I right?
    'To go' is a simple infinitive; 'to have gone' is a perfect infinitive. 'I would love' is conditional tense; 'I would have loved' is conditional perfect. The difference in your two sentences is where you put the perfect element. Is the finite verb ('love') perfect or is the infinitive perfect? My intuitions as a native speaker of American English is that both sentences are acceptable and that they have the same meaning. 'I would have loved' implies that the desiring was in the past. 'I would love to have gone' implies that you are expressing a present desire about a past event. Even so I don't think there is any significant difference in meaning in the sense that in most cases the speaker doesn't really think about when his desiring took place.

    'I regret now that' clearly expresses the idea of desiring in the present.

    After further thought I think that 1a) and 1b) and 2a) and 2b) are all acceptable. It would be interesting to have further opinions.
     

    neal41

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I am not even sure about the first part of sentences 1a and 1b. Shouldn't it be "I didn't know she lived in London"?
    I think that 'lives' is OK in the case that the information that you now have indicates that she still lives in London. I think that 'lived' would be OK in this case and in the case in which you do not know where she lives now.
     

    The Prof

    Senior Member
    If I met someone unexpectedly, I would say "I didn't know you were here", never "I didn't know you are here", even though they quite clearly are here, now. I can't see the difference. But it is getting late so maybe I am missing something through tiredness!
     

    neal41

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    If I met someone unexpectedly, I would say "I didn't know you were here", never "I didn't know you are here", even though they quite clearly are here, now. I can't see the difference. But it is getting late so maybe I am missing something through tiredness!
    I likewise would not say "I didn't know you are here". However, I would say "I didn't know that you live in Houston" or "I didn't know that you eat meat" or "I didn't know that you are interested in local history". I could also use past tense in those sentences, but I think that I would be more likely to use present tense.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top