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When someone wants to ask politely for something, they use “would like to” structure. For example:

I would like to try on this jacket, please.”

I wonder if this structure has past tense. I know that the structure “Would like to have + past participle” is quite different in meaning. For example:

John would like to have tried on another piece of clothing, but he was in hurry.”

So as you can see the second structure isn’t the past tense of the first structure since it conveys the meaning that "John" did not try "another piece of clothing". For example you want to say:

There was a very beautiful coat in the shopping center so I asked the man: ‘I’d like to try it on’ ”

The last part of the statement is a direct reported speech. How can we say that part in indirect reported speech?

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    Strictly speaking your second (Past Tense) example should be John would have liked to have tried on another piece of clothing, since that's what he wanted in the past, not at "time of utterance". It's just that native speakers don't usually like having to repeat Perfect forms, so in a context like that we'll normally only apply the Perfect to to have tried on OR to have liked, not both. Aug 22, 2020 at 16:59

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The problem here is that "would" is effectively already past tense (it's the preterite form of "will"), though it's often used to express things other than past time, as is the case here. So you can't make "would" past tense, since it already is a past tense form.

If you want to use it in indirect speech, you can't backshift it: "would" is past tense, but it doesn't have a corresponding past participle form, so you can't make it past perfect. However, backshifting isn't required in many contexts; often you can just leave the tenses alone in indirect speech. So you could say:

He said he would like to try it on.

This is somewhat awkward but acceptable.

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In some cases, the perfect ("I would have liked...") is appropriate. Where it's not, "would" doesn't change in reported speech.

(Morphologically, "would" is already past tense, as shown by its relationship to "will". "I will try it on." --> "I said I would try it on.")

"I would like to try it on." --> "I said I would like to try it on." (no change)

"Can (or could) I try it on?" --> "I asked if I could try it on." (In practice, this could also be used to refer back to a statement that "I would like to try it on" - since it means the same thing.)

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In this case I think that the contraction of "would have" to "would've" is the most common way it is said in spoken English and so common as to be almost more proper to write it that way, like:

“I would've liked to try on that jacket.”

“John would've liked to have tried on another piece of clothing, but he was in hurry.”

“There was a very beautiful coat in the shopping center and so I asked the man if I could try it on.’ ”

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