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1) The salesman said he was very glad to receive the order the day before.
2) The salesman said he was very glad to have received the order the day before.

I think that a perfect infinitive (to have p.p) should be applied to the subordinate clause when the tense of the main clause is preceded by that of the subordinate one.

The above two sentences have the adverbial phrase "the day before" indicating that certain behavior happened in the past. But what is the adverbial phrase modifying now? If it modifies the behavior of receiving now, the sentence 2 will be right, but if it qualifies the behavior of saying, can the sentence 1 be right?

  • When did the salesman say it? What did he actually say? The day before what? It is impossible to interpret these sentences correctly without more context information, as they are ambiguous. – JavaLatte Mar 10 '17 at 13:42
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Perfect infinitive Refer to the link and accepted answer. How lucid, how nicely worded it is! The adverbial phrase refer to the act of receiving in sentence No.1 & 2. " The day before " does not have any impact on "Said" . " To receive ", or " To have received " refer to the mindset of the speaker. In the first one his approach is casual and in the second he applied his mind to it acknowledging his acceptance of the order not withstanding the fact that infinitives being tense less refer to the ultimate predictor, " Said ".

Perfect infinitive may be a pointer to a wish, a completed job already past, or just finished or even unfulfilled yearning. The finite verb decides the way we would look at it.

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