How does "have been flying" instead of "have flown" change the meaning of these sentences:

It should have been flying to another direction. Vs.
It should have flown to another direction. Vs.
It should have been flown to another direction.

  • Can we replace "direction" with "place"? Then the sentences would be correct which always makes it easier to compare. Unless of course "direction" is central to what you are trying to learn. – Jolenealaska Mar 12 '14 at 12:22
  • 1
    Dear Jolenealaska, my question has nothing to do with that lexical matter but still thank you to leave the comment. – hamed Mar 12 '14 at 12:32
  • 1
    Similar idea, but perhaps "in another direction". – Damkerng T. Mar 12 '14 at 12:33
  • should have been flying is imperfective (incomplete): it addresses a particular time during the flight (which must be identified) and says that at that time the aircraft was flying in the wrong direction.

  • should have flown is perfective (complete): it addresses the flight as a whole and, as it stands, states that the aircraft flew in the wrong direction throughout its flight. However, the context may supply an intermediate ‘starting point’ after the aircraft took off; in that case should have flown addresses the remainder of the flight.

    After reaching point X, it should have flown in a different direction.

  • should have been flown is merely the passive version of should have flown: it ascribes the error specifically to those piloting the aircraft.

  • does not it should have been flying mean that someone is guessing and telling to another person - hhmm, I guess, by this time, it should have been flying northward? No error is meant here. The same with should have been flown where the speaker confidently says ...yes... it should have been flown in that direction. – Maulik V Mar 12 '14 at 12:57
  • @MaulikV If you're talking about its current course you say "Right now it should be flying in such-and-such a direction". The passive is unlikely this situation; since all it adds to the 'middle-voice' version is agency, we'd be more likely to express that in the active: "They should be flying it in that direction." – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 12 '14 at 14:01

Okay, not grammar. Let me make it simpler.

It should have been flying in another direction - I'm guessing that it's flying in another direction.
It should have flown in another direction - I'm guessing that it already went in another direction by flying some time ago.
It should have been flown in another direction - pretty similar to the above one but here I may mean that recently, it must have gone (by flying) in that direction.

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.