Could you tell me what the past tense of "would like to do" is? Is it "wanted to do"?

Also, I'd like to know the present and past perfect tense of "would like to do" if it has.

If it is not too much trouble, please give me a few example sentences for reference.

  • 1
    Would is a modal auxiliary verb, and therefore is not inflected for tense. So it doesn't have a present or a past tense. And since it's a modal, it has to be first in a verb phrase and therefore can't occur after the have of the perfect construction. So there really aren't any other forms to worry about. – John Lawler Feb 27 '20 at 23:41

The past of would like to is would have liked to or would like to have [verb]

For example:

I would like to go skiing this weekend.


I would have liked to go skiing this weekend, but I have to go into work on Saturday


I would like to have gone skiing this weekend...

Each of these forms is common usage.


Morphologically, "would" is past tense (and grammatically, it serves as the past tense of "will"). In practice, it is used as though it were both present tense and past tense:

  • PRESENT: I would like a cup of tea.
  • PAST: I said that I would like a cup of tea. (Cf I said that I wanted...)
  • PAST: I wondered whether he would like a cup of tea. (Cf I wondered whether he wanted...)
  • PAST: I knew that she would like a cup of tea. (Cf I knew that she wanted...)

For certain purposes, a perfect construction is used to discuss the past:

  • PERFECT: Yesterday I would have liked a cup of tea.

But note that whereas "Yesterday I wanted a cup of tea" doesn't indicate whether or not you obtained one, "Yesterday I would have liked a cup of tea" implies that you didn't get one. There is therefore no straightforward past-tense equivalent of "I would like a cup of tea" ("Yesterday I would like a cup of tea" doesn't work, and "Yesterday I would have liked..." alters the meaning).

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