wouldn't have wanted / didn't want

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
Betty, Grosse's wife, comes by the Hodgsons's place, where Grosse is staying to deal with the poltergeist there. When Grosse is back to the Hodgsons' house, and finds Betty's there, it surprises him. Peggy Hodgson tells Grosse:
-- I should tell you off, Mr Grosse. You should have let me know, I'd have smartened up.
-- [Betty] Oh, no, I wouldn't have wanted you to go to any trouble. It's hard enough keeping everything straight with children at home, let alone a poltergeist.
The Enfield Haunting, TV series

"Didn't know" would have meant that she at least considered the option of warning about her visit. Whereas "wouldn't have wanted" implies that she didn't even consider warning Peggy about her visit, it was not even an option. Am I right? Thank you.
 
  • Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think that you are mixing who said this. Grosse should have warned Peggy that Betty was going to be there but did not do so. Betty then says the lines starting with "Oh no . . " to set Peggy at her ease.

    "I wouldn't have wanted you to go to any trouble" is a standard phrase meaning that you didn't want to inconvenience someone.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I think that you are mixing who said this. Grosse should have warned Peggy that Betty was going to be there but did not do so. Betty then says the lines starting with "Oh no . . " to set Peggy at her ease.
    I meant that first Betty didn't warn Grosse, and that's why Grosse, in his turn, didn't warn Peggy.
    "I wouldn't have wanted you to go to any trouble" is a standard phrase meaning that you didn't want to inconvenience someone.
    Yes, but I'm interested in the difference between the two in the title of thread.
     

    Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    "I didn't want you to go to any trouble" is not so polite. It is hinting that the speaker doesn't care whether you went to any trouble.
     

    Sprache

    Senior Member
    English/inglés
    "Would" is often used simply to soften a statement or request or make it sound more polite. There isn't a huge difference in meaning other than to make it sound more polite.

    Other examples:
    Would you be interested in a subscription? vs Are you interested in a subscription?

    Would you happen to know where...?

    We wouldn't want you to feel uncomfortable.

    You can easily say any of those statements without "would", i.e. in the present simple.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    It is hinting that the speaker doesn't care whether you went to any trouble.
    Sorry, but how? If you don't want someone to go to any trouble, it means you really don't want it, you care:confused:

    "I didn't want you to go to any trouble" is not so polite.
    "Would" is often used simply to soften a statement or request or make it sound more polite. There isn't a huge difference in meaning other than to make it sound more polite.

    Other examples:
    Would you be interested in a subscription? vs Are you interested in a subscription?

    Would you happen to know where...?

    We wouldn't want you to feel uncomfortable.

    You can easily say any of those statements without "would", i.e. in the present simple.
    Yes, "polite" is basically what I meant when I said she didn't even consider the option of warning about her visit and thus making troubles for the family. But grammatically, there should be an implied unreal past conditional here: "I wouldn't have wanted you to go to any trouble if I had considered any other option except for what I actually did -- to come uninvited." Because she never considered any other option. Is that right?:)
     

    Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think you are trying to make this situation too complicated. It has nothing to do with whether or not the person considered any alternative.

    Person A calls at the door of a house unexpectedly perhaps trying to sell something. Person B answers the door in a dressing gown and says "If I'd known you were coming I would have got dressed". Person A says "I wouldn't have wanted to put you to that trouble" even if A thinks that B should be dressed at that time of the morning. It is just a standard phrase said to put someone at ease (and in this case perhaps make a sale).
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    If I had told you I was coming, I wouldn't have wanted you to go to any trouble, but I know you would have so I didn't tell you I was coming.

    Edit: to
     
    Last edited:

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thank you for the correction. But I don't understand the logic of the conditional part of your sentence:

    "If I had told you I was coming, I wouldn't have wanted you to go to any trouble."

    This clearly implies to me that the reason she didn't tell them she was coming was that she wanted them to go to trouble:confused:
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi Vic
    This may be the most impenetrable post ever, or, more certainly, of yours.
    The situation is rather complicated and would be a little hard to follow had it been written by a native speaker.
    These stock etiquette/politeness phrases might not always stand up to very close examination.
    We need to carefully think what the speaker's/ speakers' intentions might be in the context.

    If I had known you were coming, I'd have baked a cake/got dressed/not get dressed/ ... .
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Hi, Hermione. Yes, I can imagine it may look complicated here, in my interpretation, it's a little clearer when you watch it on the screen though:)
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    N
    Sorry Vic, but you are being very literal about this. This has to do only with politeness but often with deceit and hypocrisy too.
    If I had told you I was coming you would have tidied the house. So I didn't tell you!
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    If I had told you I was coming you would have tidied the house. So I didn't tell you!
    Yes. I would never want you to tidy the house just for me. Thinking specifically about the time in the past which is related to my present visit, I had the opportunity to tell you I was coming. At that time, I wouldn't have wanted you to tidy the house so I wouldn't have told you.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    If I had told you I was coming you would have tidied the house. So I didn't tell you!
    That is the next step. What preceded that was "If I had wanted you to go to any trouble I would have told you I was coming."
    But my concern was actually what kind of condition ("if-clause") "wouldn't have wanted you to go to any trouble" implies.
    "If I had even thought of whether to tell you I was coming, I wouldn't have wanted you to go to any trouble and so would never have told you.":D That's a rephrasing of what I meant in the OP and #6.
    I had the opportunity to tell you I was coming. At that time, I wouldn't have wanted you to tidy the house so I wouldn't have told you.
    Sorry, I don't understand this too... I mean, you did have that opportunity. It's not a condition, but a fact. So why are you using "would have" in the sentence instead of just "At that time, I didn't want you to tidy the house so I didn't tell you."?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    That is the next step. What preceded that was "If I had wanted you to go to any trouble I would have told you I was coming.""?
    Here's your incorrect assumption.
    I, being a polite person, would never want anyone to go to any trouble for me. I wouldn't want it now. I wouldn't have wanted it then.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I, being a polite person, would never want anyone to go to any trouble for me. I wouldn't want it now. I wouldn't have wanted it then.
    But that's exactly what I meant:

    "If I had wanted you to go to any trouble I would have told you I was coming."
    = "If I had wanted you to smarten yourself/your house up I would have told you I was coming."
    = "If I were an impolite person I would have told you I was coming."
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Sorry to revive this post, but here's another example with "wouldn't have wanted" in it:

    Wife:Know what?
    Husband:Of course I know. It's our wedding anniversary, and I wouldn't have wanted to miss a single day.

    The dialogue is from the movie "Animals United".

    Question: What is the implied conditional like? Or how would you paraphrase "I wouldn't have wanted to miss a single day"? What about "I didn't want to miss a single day"?

    Thanks a lot in advance!
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    If you had given me the option of missing some of the days of our marriage, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of them. “Didn’t want” doesn’t work here.
     

    grammar-in-use

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    If you had given me the option of missing some of the days of our marriage, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of them. “Didn’t want” doesn’t work here.

    Thank you very much for your quick replies.

    Can I say “I wouldn't have wanted to miss a single day for the world”?

    If someone had said "I didn't want to miss a single day", what would he have meant?
     
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