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Is it possible to interpret "I would have liked to have met her" (a lift from G.Pullum et al) somewhat like:

  1. (yesterday) I would have liked to have met her (the day before yesterday) (I had never seen her but almost the same time yesterday I took knowledge of her having undergone plastic surgery and wasn't herself anymore. That's why my seeing her was no longer sensible).

  2. All the past week I would have liked to have met (underlines the putative completion of the action-meeting her, not reached though) her by the yesterday evening, at the least. But today morning I took knowledge of her having left for good and I wouldn't like to meet her anymore.

In the next example it stands: "I should like to have finished it by the end of the week". Here the question is:

  • by the end of the previous week (I have not finished it yet and I regret this)

  • or by the end of the next week (putative comletion by a certaint time in the future akin to the Future Perfect use)?

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  • 3
    Those are not conditional sentences.
    – Gustavson
    Jan 31, 2020 at 18:01
  • The sentence starting 1. does not mention yesterday, the day before yesterday, nor morning. So the bullet points don't work. There seems to be context missing.
    – puppetsock
    Jan 31, 2020 at 19:46
  • @Gustavson What type of sentences are there in the patterns then? I thought it to equal the conditional sentences: "If only I had met her", or "I would have liked to meet her" (if I had had a chance - not only to meet but also to be in the condition to wish, to "like").
    – Eugene
    Feb 1, 2020 at 10:59
  • There is no conditional clause, hence they are not conditional sentences. Anyway, you may find the answer to your question here: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/51686/…
    – Gustavson
    Feb 1, 2020 at 14:19
  • @Gustavson May you, as a non-native teacher of English, adopt the following inference of mine. I want to transform the future perfect into the similar conditional construction. For example: "Provided he starts off in an hour, he will have done his job by 11 a.m. tomorrow" - "He would have done his job by 11 a.m. tomorrow if he could start off not more than in one hour".
    – Eugene
    Feb 1, 2020 at 19:10

1 Answer 1

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I would have liked to have met her.

I did not meet her. If I had met her, I would have liked that.

For example, maybe you were invited to a party, but you declined. Later you learned that Regina Spektor happened to be there. The above sentence would make perfect sense as an expression of regret.

I would have liked to have met her tomorrow.

I did not make plans to meet her tomorrow. If I had made such plans, I would have liked that.

For example, maybe you were invited to a party that will take place tomorrow. Jessica Alba will also be at that party. But you are planning to leave the country tonight, so you can't go to the party. The above sentence would make perfect sense in this case.

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  • @Eugene No, I would say that's too much of a stretch. "would have liked to have met her tomorrow" is OK because the perfect there is from the standpoint of a hypothetical/irrealis future, but "if the scientists had opened up ... in 2022" suggests perfect from a past (pluperfect) standpoint -- and a past standpoint located in the future doesn't make sense. (Also, pandemic* rather than pandemia, and "opened up the effectual treatment" is unclear: do you mean "had discovered an effective treatment"?). Nov 6, 2021 at 14:11
  • Will it make sense if restated in this way: "The pandemic would have been brought to an end by 2023 if the scientists happen to discover the effectual treatment in 2022"? I am trying to turn the Future Perfect that conveys the idea of the accomplishment of an action by a certain time in the future into the 2-nd Conditional denoting hypothetical/irrealis future hereby (I put it up as the 2-nd Conditional because I just transform "will have been brought..." into "would have been brought..." which is intended to relay a hypothetical future implication).
    – Eugene
    Nov 6, 2021 at 22:38
  • @Eugene It should be "will have been brought to an end". On further reflection, the problem is that "would" here suggests that a condition has not been fulfilled — something that could have happened did not happen. Since 2022 isn't over yet, we can't use "would". On the other hand, in the previous examples, "would have liked to have met her", it assumes that the opportunity to meet her already happened and you missed the opportunity. Nov 7, 2021 at 2:53
  • One more inference on my part, if you please. With "would have been brought to an end..." I mean precisely the situation that is to be taken in as not going to come off unless scientists find an effectual treatment. I'm putting in a construction of an unreal condition derived from the Future Perfect. I.e., restating it a little, "The pandemic would be brought to an end by 2023 if the scientists happened to discover the effectual treatment in 2022".
    – Eugene
    Nov 7, 2021 at 9:17
  • I'm interested in the possibility of creating an unreal conditional construction of the 2-nd type out of the Future Perfect to implicate the idea of accomplishment of an action in the future.
    – Eugene
    Nov 7, 2021 at 9:19

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