Suppose that you are in a situation that you must provide a comment or say something, but actually you don't know what you should say. Finally, you come up with something which strikes the lister as complex, leading to a lengthy questions and answers between you and that person.

Now, suppose you want to imply "It wasn't well thought of comment and let's stop this topic"

I just wanted to have said something.

Is that grammatically right? I see zero result for "just wanted to have said" or almost zero for "wanted to have said" which make feel insecure about this sentence.

  • 2
    It's syntactically "valid", but if you were known to be a native speaker, other natives speakers would probably think I wonder why he didn't say I just wanted to say something? In which case they might dream up obscure "nuances" that were never in your mind. For example, that you knew your input (or lack thereof) was going to be judged in some way at some future time, so you wanted to have it on record that you had in fact particpated. As opposed to the more likely / natural meaning - that at the time you wanted to contribute your views. Commented May 7, 2018 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


You could say:

I hadn't really thought it through completely.

If you want to add words to the effect that you were expected to say something:

Even so, I wanted to offer it as something that merited further discussion.

If you say either

I wanted to say something.


I wanted to have said something.

the implication is that you felt it was better to say anything, no matter how half-baked, than to say nothing.

  • Thanks Tromano, yes the intention was I felt it was better to say anything.
    – Cardinal
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 0:51

It's convoluted, but grammatically fine. However I'm not sure it means what you wanted it to mean. The challenge is that you're not really talking about an English problem but rather a social problem -- saying "I just wanted to have said something" can be socially awkward, because it sounds like you spoke up even though you knew you had nothing meaningful to add to the discussion.

How to answer this? Well, you can be honest:

I'm sorry. It's clear I don't know what I'm talking about. Let's move on.

You can dissemble:

I think that might have come out wrong. Let's move on.

You can stall:

But this is too complicated a subject. Let's table it for later (after you have time to research a better answer).

You can feign anger:

This is all clearly a waste of our time. Let's move on.

And various other options. Which you choose depends on the context. If you want some good examples, just look at video of politicians and government officials as reporters pester them with questions.

  • I think this misses the point - that the "unusual" use of "past perfect in the future" implies that the "wanted" scenario involves being able to point back to something done in the past (in the future), rather than a simple statement about what the speaker wanted to do at the time when he did it. Commented May 7, 2018 at 15:28
  • @FumbleFingers The basic question is "Can you say this?", which I answer "yes -- but it may not mean what you think it means, based on the given context". After that, I agree, my answer is just fluff.
    – Andrew
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 15:59

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