What is the difference between these sentences and which one is correct. Why we use two past particle in first sentence.

1) He wouldn't have been pleased.

2) He wouldn't have pleased.

2 Answers 2


In my (non-native) opinion:

There are two pasts in the first sentence, because, I guess, it's type 3 conditional + passive voice.

  • "He wouldn't have been pleased" means that if some scenario happened in the past (but it didn't), as a result, he would be unsatisfied (in the past).
    For example, "He wouldn't have been pleased if he'd broke his car".

  • "He wouldn't have pleased {someone}" means that if some scenario happened in the past (but it didn't), as a result, he wouldn't satisfy someone (in the past).
    For example, "He wouldn't have pleased his parents if he'd broke their car".

If you don't specify who is not pleased in the second sentence (e.g., "he wouldn't have pleased if he'd broke a car"), it'll probably be the "incorrect" one.

  • more comments please Jun 29, 2016 at 11:06
  • Roux is quite correct. The first sentence is in the passive voice: he wouldn't have been pleased by something else. The second sentence is active: he wouldn't have pleased somebody else. The second one is not very fluent or idiomatic, because the verb to please is usually transitive; we expect that if "he pleases", then "he pleases somebody", but there is no object of the verb in sentence #2.
    – stangdon
    Jun 29, 2016 at 11:38

It's possible to interpret the first sentence as a perfect passive "have been pleased", but I think that "pleased" is an adjective here, not a participle. So it is parallel to "He wouldn't have been happy".

The second sentence is a perfect active.

  • I was thinking exactly to the same thing.
    – Cardinal
    Jun 29, 2016 at 15:37

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