I’m having a disagreement with a friend about the use of would have. She thinks that backshifting isn’t necessary, whereas I think it is. For example,

“I would have thought he made exceptions in these cases, but apparently he doesn’t”.

Either way, we both agree that backshifting isn’t necessary while using “I would think” type of construct.

Can anyone help us settle this dispute?

  • Does he still not make exceptions, or did he not make exceptions in the past? If something is true in past, present, and future, either past or present tense can be used (there are several other questions about this); but if for instance he is no longer in a position to make exceptions, past would apply.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


It appears to be a "third conditional" sentence. Use the past-perfect.


Best, Scott

  • 1
    I don’t think it’s a third conditional, as there is no condition. Can you clarify how this is a third conditional?
    – Alon
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 9:06

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