Help/have done somethingForum > English only || Bottom
Message from chrisdelille posted on 09-10-2018 at 10:07:04 (D | E | F)
First of all, I am sorry if the title seems a bit too direct, I wanted to write something more specific and precise but I wasn't allowed enough characters..
I was wondering if anyone could help with a grammar subtlety I am not sure to get right.I am studying with 'English Grammar in Use' by Raymond Murphy. On unit 58 he introduces the following construction: I would like to have done something = I regret now that I didn't or couldn't do it.
So if I say 'I would like to have seen her again', it means 'I wish I had seen her again'. So far, am I right ?
Is the construction 'I would have liked to do something' grammatically correct ? If so, when I say 'I would have liked to see her', does it have the same meaning than 'I would like to have seen her' ?
If they are both correct, I would say that when I say 'I would have liked to do something' I am only stating something I would have liked to do if I had had the chance, whereas when I say 'I would like to have done something', I am expressing regrets about not doing something. Is it right ?
Thank you for the help
Edited by lucile83 on 09-10-2018 11:20
A title must be short
Re: Help/have done something from gerondif, posted on 09-10-2018 at 20:17:40 (D | E)
Your structure sounds wrong to my ears.
For example, I can say :
I would have liked to visit Pau again this morning.
I wish I had visited Pau again this morning.
I regretted not going back to Pau's city-centre this morning, after visiting it yesterday.
But I would never say : I would like to have visited Pau again this morning, because I would like expresses a present wish and to have visited expresses a past action, so the cohabitation of the two is difficult.
Are you sure your structure wasn't ?
I would like to have my car repaired ? Which would make much more sense ?
Re: Help/have done something from jade77, posted on 09-10-2018 at 20:59:30 (D | E)
"I would like to have done something"
"would like" often refers to desires in present or future tense, so your sentence doesn't express any regret, by the contrary the speaker still have hope to accomplish his desire.
"to have done" this is called "infinitive perfect" tense, and it is similar to present perfect tense in your case.
This an interesting link for that: Link
"I wish I had seen her again" : unreal past situation or unlikely to happen.
"I would have liked to do something" : it's just a hypothetical situation, the speaker didn't really try that.
Re: Help/have done something from chrisdelille, posted on 09-10-2018 at 22:52:57 (D | E)
First of all, thank you for your answers ! I understand your surprise as I was myself quite puzzled by this structure. I looked it up again and it says clearly that the structure is
"I would like to have done something = I regret now that I didn't or couldn't do it". Raymond Murphy gives few examples "It's a shame we didn't see Anna when we were in London. I would like to have seen her again" and "we would like to have gone away, but we were too busy at home". He also states that the same structure can be used after would love/ would hate/ would prefer. "Poor David! I would hate to have been in his position." "I'd love to have gone to the party, but it was impossible".
After further research I found this on online Cambridge dictionary : Link
We use would like to have + -ed form when talking about things in the past that we have missed:
I’d like to have watched the football but I had to go out. (I wanted to watch the football, but I didn’t.)
So now I am confident that the structure exists. I just don't know if it conveys the same meaning than "I would have liked to do something" .
Thank you again for taking the time to answer, that's really nice of you two.
Re: Help/have done something from traviskidd, posted on 10-10-2018 at 03:07:38 (D | E)
Hello, the mixing of present and past concepts is not always forbidden, for example: "She must have forgotten to tell you." --> It must (now) be the case that she forgot (before) to tell you.
"I would like to have seen her" seems to fit in the same category as "I wish I had seen her." ; both "I would like" and "I wish" express a present feeling. However, to my ear, "I would have liked to see her" sounds better. If your example comes from a grammar book, then it must surely be correct , but I don't think it is in very common use.
Re: Help/have done something from gerondif, posted on 10-10-2018 at 07:19:00 (D | E)
I still find that pattern awkward.
It seems to me that there is a difference in meaning.
I would have liked to be a singer. A present regret about my life, something I never did.
I would like to have been a singer. It seems to me that I picture myself in an imaginary past life.
Or I regret that my past life wasn't like that, I am now a retired teacher, not a retired singer.
Of course I know that the French say il a dû avoir froid and the English say il doit avoir eu froid, he must have been cold. It sounds better with a modal verb (Can, may, must, will,would,should) but with I'd like, it sounds different.
I would have liked to kill that dictator. Present regret.
I would like to have killed that dictator. It seems to me that I picture myself back in the thirties in Germany or that I regret not being the one who killed him then.
Re: Help/have done something from chrisdelille, posted on 11-10-2018 at 11:38:39 (D | E)
Thank you all for participating,
I asked the same question on an other forum and I've had an answer from an American and from an Australian. According to the American lady, both structures convey the same meaning, it is only a difference of wording, whereas the Australian gentleman says there is subtle yet significant difference:
(I'm quoting what he wrote)
"There is actually a subtle but significant difference between "I would like to have done something" and "I would have liked to do something".
"I would have liked to do something" - tends to convey the regret of not doing the action as something that is presented in a factual manner.
"I would like to have done something" - tends to express the regret as something that has repercussions right now such as feeling emotions such as sadness for not having performed the action. "
The structure "I would like to have -ed something" would be more common in British English than it is in American English, which explains why the American lady wouldn't see the shade between the two structures.
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