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What is the meaning "would prefer to have+past participle " in the following sentences:

  1. I would prefer to have stayed at a small family-run hotel than a big international chain.

  2. I would prefer to have travelled by train.

In my opinion, both of these sentences express regret, and I think both 'to have stayed' and 'to have travelled' can be replaced by using 'should have' + past participle.

For example: 1. I should have stayed at a small family-run hotel than a big international -Chain.

  1. I should have travelled by train.

I'm not sure and it's just my opinion. So, could you please tell meaning and uses of 'would prefer to have'+p.p ?

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  • "Would prefer to have" can entail some degree of regret or none at all, depending on context. For example, if your friend made a choice of the hotel, it is just a contradiction of thoughts and "would prefer to have stayed" simply implies that you would have made a different choice. "should have" implies a higher degree of regret. For example, you ended up choosing a cheaper hotel but it is outside the city and now you rue about it by saying that you should have stayed at the other hotel. – vickyace May 31 '16 at 9:00
  • what did you understand from my comment and what question remains in your mind? – vickyace Jun 1 '16 at 2:32
  • I would like you to answer the question: question itself is sufficient to express my problem – yubraj Jun 1 '16 at 2:57
  • Can i replace those two sentences without changing their meanings – yubraj Jun 1 '16 at 3:01
  • I think it would be better if you could try to to put an answer to this question so that i'll be able to point out what would be in my mind then. – yubraj Jun 1 '16 at 3:04
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"Would prefer to have" can entail some degree of regret or none at all, depending on context.

For example, you and your friend are to book a hotel. Your friend chose the hotel based on his likings. Let us say he did so because it had bigger rooms. But the number of restaurants are too few.

You would have chosen a hotel with rooms of average size but with greater number of restaurants for variety.

It is just a contradiction of thoughts and "would prefer to have stayed" "simply implies that you would have made a different choice.

It is also used in construction of conditional statements.

Example - I would have succeeded if my luck helped.

"Should have" implies a higher or definite degree of regret.

For example, you ended up choosing a cheaper hotel but it is outside the city and now you rue about it by saying that you should have stayed at the other hotel that your friend chose.

It is also used to express disappointment.

You shouldn't have betrayed my friend.

So use "should have" when expressing regret or disappointment over one's or other's actions and "would have" when expressing choice or condition.

Edited- Expounding the comments.

It is tricky with "would" and "have." It depends on the construction/syntax.

would like/love/prefer to construction suggests preference or choice.

Whereas, would have liked/loved/preferred construction has more to do with regret and compunction.

  • sir,but I think when the preferences or choice aren't filled, there must be a regret. so I'm confused with your answer. – yubraj Jun 1 '16 at 12:29
  • @yubrajsharma First, don't call me sir. Second, you are convoluting your words. "would have" alone implies choice or preference. "I would have traveled by train" conveys preference just as much as "I would prefer to have traveled by train." – vickyace Jun 1 '16 at 12:45
  • Your first comment doesn't involve would/should and is incorrect in construction. – vickyace Jun 1 '16 at 12:47
  • Do you mean "sub+would prefer /like /love to have +p.p is used to express preferences and choice but not regret ? – yubraj Jun 1 '16 at 13:01
  • But I think when the preferences or choice aren't fulfilled, there must be a regret. so I'm confused with your answer. – yubraj Jun 1 '16 at 13:02

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