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I have a question regarding the sentence found in the song "Girlfriend in a coma" by The Smiths, and the song goes:

There were times when I could have strangled her
But you know,
I would hate anything to happen to her
Would you please let me see her...

Shouldn't the structure look more like this? :

I would hate if anything should to happen to her

Or is this just a shortened version of what I feel is correct? (I know that these are song lyrics, and it might just be that Morissey wanted the words to fit the rhythm of the song).

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    Also, "I would hate for anything to happen to her. – Jim Nov 28 '17 at 17:42
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    Also I would hate it if anything were to happen. – FumbleFingers Nov 28 '17 at 18:45
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    Whilst agreeing with @FumbleFingers, "I would hate anything to happen to her", is idiomatic. – WS2 Nov 28 '17 at 21:05
  • It's 'if anything should happen' - the 'to' is unnecessary. – Kate Bunting Nov 29 '17 at 9:28
  • @Kate Bunting I would agree that there is more than one way to skin a cat! – WS2 Dec 2 '17 at 8:33
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Your instinct is on point, the preferred, formal way to express this thought is "I would hate if anything were to happen to her." However, in everyday speech, an English-speaking person would likely say "I would hate for anything to happen to her." In this song, the word "for" has been omitted, but it remains understandable.

  • Worth noting that this phrase is used idiomatically as a threat. "Nice car you have there. Be a shame if anything were to happen to it." Because it implies that there is a likelihood that something bad will happen to it. An English speaker wanting to avoid that implication would say something like, "I hope nothing bad happens to her." – Ben Jackson Dec 18 '18 at 2:08

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