I read this and I'm confused about this sentence.

I loved being able to play the role of somebody, even just for a short time, to try to realise what it might be like to walk in their shoes.

Why has the writer chosen to use "might be" instead of "might have been"? I think because he is talking about a past possibility he needs "might have been". What's the difference?

  • If they are dead or you are wondering about experiencing events that happened at a specific point in the past you'd say "might have been like", if you are curious what their life is currently like you'd say "might be like" – Peter Morris Feb 23 '17 at 22:56

With a past-form modal verb the perfect infinitive construction have + past participle does not have a perfect meaning; it marks the eventuality as occurring in the past. For instance, What {might/would/could} be speaks of something possible now or in the future:

It would be exciting to be a rock star.
I would like to know what it would be like to be a rock star.

What {might/would/could} have been speaks of something possible in the past:

It would have been exciting to be a virtuoso pianist in the 19th century.
I would like to know what it would have been like to be a virtuoso pianist in the 19th century.

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