3

Is there any difference between these two?

  1. I shouldn’t have done that.

  2. I shouldn’t have to do that.

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Dec 26 '16 at 23:07

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • 5
    The first means that doing 'that' in the past was a mistake; the second means that you should not be required to do 'that' now or in the future. – StoneyB Dec 26 '16 at 19:40
  • 3
    Another difference is that they're pronounced differently. Have in the first one is pronounced with a /v/, while in the second one it's pronounced with an /f/. That's the way people tell them apart in speech. – John Lawler Dec 26 '16 at 19:42
  • 1
    @JohnLawler Unlike finite forms of have to, where the voicing assimilation is mandatory, I find it completely optional here. Much more essentially, I tell them apart in speech by the latter being /hav ~ haf/ and the former being /ə ~ əv/; and by the latter being stressed and the former unstressed. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 26 '16 at 20:37
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Mmm-hmmm. Reduced idiomatic constructions and their fæspič variants are always fascinating. I have no doubt we'd tune to each other's channels immediately viva voce, but then that's what humans are good at. – John Lawler Dec 26 '16 at 21:39
3

Yes. It's the same construction as I shouldn't have answered this vs I shouldn't have to answer this. The latter is a complaint and indicative that not only did I not answer but that I will not answer in the future, while the former indicates that I did answer but now regret it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy