"I would have liked to come" and "I would like to have come" - difference?

6

2

Please read the following:

  1. I would like to come with you.
  2. I would have liked to come with you.
  3. I would like to have come with you.

Another example:

  1. I would prefer to drink coffee.
  2. I would have preferred to drink coffee.
  3. I would prefer to have drunk coffee.

I perfectly understand the first sentence in both the groups. What I would like to know is the difference between second and third sentences. Could you please explain that?

Leo

Posted 2015-01-20T09:18:39.060

Reputation: 3 111

1As far as I know "I would have liked to come with you" is a hypothetical sentence, e.g., If you were beautiful, I would have liked to come with you". It may also be used while telling a story when we use would as the past version of will. The 3rd version seems strange. – user31782 – 2015-01-20T10:09:24.337

1@user31782 - I agree. It does seem strange. but it is used in books anyways. I am trying to understand if there is any difference. – Leo – 2015-01-20T10:28:37.367

4Please provide the excerpt where you found your example. – F.E. – 2015-01-20T10:35:28.677

@F.E. - Actually I put this senentece into quotes and searched in google books and I got too many results. I was not reading in any particular book, but studying grammar. I tried different verbs in the same structure, still I was getting results. So I thought why would writers be using the third sentence structure over second one. – Leo – 2015-01-20T11:43:39.763

Answers

7

The difference is EXTREMELY subtle, but in your second example:

I would have preferred to drink coffee.

This doesn't make any assumptions about what you were doing instead of drinking coffee. "We met up to go shopping, but I would have preferred to drink coffee". "We went to a park, but I would have preferred to drink coffee."

I would prefer to have drunk coffee.

This implies that I was drinking something, but it wasn't coffee. "The lady gave me a beer, but I would prefer to have drunk coffee". "All I could find was orange juice, but I would prefer to have drunk coffee."

Mark

Posted 2015-01-20T09:18:39.060

Reputation: 4 357

1+1 but what if it was: I would have preferred to have drunk coffee? – Lucian Sava – 2015-01-20T11:29:43.987

Sounds very strange, I don't think that's correct English. – Mark – 2015-01-20T11:32:39.237

2

It is, see the following authors here

– Lucian Sava – 2015-01-20T11:43:06.163

From the article: "This phrase should invariably be followed by a present-tense infinitive–hence would have liked to go, not *would have liked to have gone, *would have liked to have read. The erroneous phrasings are very common" It's basically saying that, while not technically correct, it's commonly used by native speakers anyway. I agree with that, it sounds a bit clumsy but most native speakers don't use 100% flawless English. – Mark – 2015-01-20T11:47:41.573

4

The difference between the two sentences is a matter of timing.

I would have liked to have come with you. At some time in the past I would have liked to have come with you. I may or may not have changed my mind since then.

I would like to have come with you. At this ime (now) I would like it if I had come with you. I may or may not have liked it at the time you came.

Eric

Posted 2015-01-20T09:18:39.060

Reputation: 41