Would you have liked to have known Johnny Appleseed?

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stephenlearner

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

My kid's reading book has a story about a very kind man, nicknamed "Johnny Appleseed". After the story, there is a question: "Would you have liked to have known Johnny Appleseed? "

I find this question very confusing. What does it mean?

Thank you.
 
  • arundhati

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Hello,
    It's grammatically the same as "Would you like to know Johnny Appleseed?" but with a different tense. Of course it changes the meaning, but maybe you can see the construction better this way.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The double use of "have" as an auxiliary sounds clumsy. I don't think the sentence is intended to mean anything other than "Would you have liked to know him?". This is a hypothetical question, and asks whether, if it were possible to transport you into the context of the story, or if the story could be transported into the present, you would like to know him.

    It does not mean quite the same as "Would you like to have known him?". This is semi-hypothetical, because it asks whether you would now like to be in a position of having known him.

    I suspect the original form is incorrect, because its meaning (from analysis of the sentence) does not appear to agree with the meaning that is probably intended. Strictly, it means: Hypothetically, if it had been possible, would you like to have been in a position of having known him prior to the hypothetical situation?
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    "Would you have liked to have known...?"
    Native speakers sometime say this when their meaning is

    either: "Would you liked (now) to have known. (at some past time)..?"
    or: "Would you have liked (at some past time to known (at that past time. ..?"

    The original sentence logically means "Would you have liked (at some past time to have known (at some earlier past time) ...?"

    However, native speakers are not confused by the 'incorrect form'. I suspect that many would not consider it incorrect.

    (Crossposted)
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    Native speakers sometime say this when their meaning is

    either: "Would you liked (now) to have known. (at some past time)..?"
    or: "Would you have liked (at some past time to known (at that past time. ..?"

    The original sentence logically means "Would you have liked (at some past time to have known (at some earlier past time) ...?"

    However, native speakers are not confused by the 'incorrect form'. I suspect that many would not consider it incorrect.

    (Crossposted with Edinburgher., with whom I agree.)
     
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