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  1. #1
    Hitch's Avatar
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    Default perfect infinitive - uses, functions, examples.

    Hello good evening everyone! I would like to have a clear and textual explanation of "perfect infinitive"; specifically rules if there are some applicable with respect to its context, conditions, uses, functions and if possible some examples. Also, please evaluate this sentence as to its correctness.

    I am honored to have met you!

    Thank you very much for the information you can give me on this topic!

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: perfect infinitive - uses, functions, examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
    I would like to have a clear and textual explanation of "perfect infinitive"; specifically rules if there are some applicable with respect to its context, conditions, uses, functions and if possible some examples.
    If you have specific problems, we are happy to help, but we are not a grammar book. I suggest you consult a good grammar, and come back to us if there is anything you are not clear about.

    Also, please evaluate this sentence as to its correctness. I am honored to have met you!
    It is grammatically correct.

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: perfect infinitive - uses, functions, examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
    I am honored to have met you!
    Just for information, in BrE this would be "I am honoured to have met you".

  4. #4
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    Default Re: perfect infinitive - uses, functions, examples.

    Thanks for the reply. It keeps me thinking.

  5. #5
    Hitch's Avatar
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    Default Re: perfect infinitive - uses, functions, examples.

    Thanks for your reply. This means I have to learn it the hard way. I am really in doubt when I use it. Still, I am very thankful.

  6. #6
    ~Mav~ is offline Member
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    Post Re: perfect infinitive - uses, functions, examples.

    *** NOT A TEACHER ***


    Quote Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
    Hello good evening everyone! I would like to have a clear and textual explanation of "perfect infinitive"; specifically rules if there are some applicable with respect to its context, conditions, uses, functions and if possible some examples. Also, please evaluate this sentence as to its correctness.

    I am honored to have met you!

    Thank you very much for the information you can give me on this topic!
    I respectfully recommend that you study these posts submitted by Raymott and me about a year ago, assuming you have the time and the determination to do so. I really wanted to get to the bottom of the correct usage of the Perfect Infinitive in different tenses/structures, and I cannot be thankful enough to Raymott, who had the utmost patience to help me. I have re-read those posts many times since last July, each and every time with a quiet murmur of thanks to Ray.

    I would also like to bring to attention (even for some native speakers) a truly excellent note by Raymott which seems to have been missed even by the greatest grammarians, such as Professor Swan. The following passage is from "Practical English Usage" by Michael Swan:

    perfect infinitive for 'unreal' past
    After some verbs (e.g. mean, be, would like), perfect infinitives can refer to
    'unreal' past situations that are the opposite of what really happened.
    I meant to have telephoned, but I forgot. (OR I meant to telephone ... )
    He was to have been the new ambassador, but he fell ill.
    I wish I'd been there - I would like to have seen Harry's face when Nan
    walked in.
    With would like, would prefer and one or two other verbs, a double perfect
    infinitive is sometimes used in informal speech; the extra perfect infinitive
    does not change the meaning.
    I would have liked to have seen Harry's face.
    Our respected teacher, Raymott, illustrated an excellent point which grammatically justifies the double perfect infinitive:
    ˙Example sentences from "The King’s English" by H.W. Fowler are in black, Mr. Fowler's notes are in red, and Raymott is in blue, as usual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott;
    With whom on those golden summer evenings I should have liked to have taken a stroll in the hayfield.—Thackeray.

    To have taken means simply to take; the implication of nonfulfilment that justified the perfects above is here needless, being already given in I should have liked; and the doubled have is ugly in sound.
    I agree it's unnecessary. Perhaps that's the way they liked it back in Thackeray's day.
    But it does illustrate a point I intended making: the double use of the perfect tense can have the same meaning as a single use - it's a stylistic issue here.


    Another example:

    Peggy would have liked to have shown her turban and bird of paradise at the ball.—Thackeray.
    So, it's Thackeray's style. Also, there might be a grammatical justification for this. If he's referring to Peggy in the past tense, this is an entirely good way of saying it, IMO.
    "Peggy likes to shown her turban." (Present)
    "Peggy would like to have shown her turban" (Present referring to past)
    "Peggy would have liked to have shown her turban". (Past referring to further past). Note that there's no simple past form for "would like", as there is, for example, for "want"
    want to - wanted to - would have wanted to
    would like to - ? - would have liked to
    If you are interested in H.W. Fowler's thoughts on Perfect Infinitive, you might want to check out this chapter of his legendary work, entitled, " The King’s English". (Be warned, it is VERY difficult for learners!)

    Should you have any questions, I am sure that the respected teachers and native English speakers of this forum will be willing to help you.

    I hope to have been able to be of use to you.



    PS: Dear Raymott,

    If you happen to read this post of mine, I once again would like to thank you for your enormous help.
    Last edited by ~Mav~; 25-Jul-2011 at 06:40. Reason: Fixing a link

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: perfect infinitive - uses, functions, examples.

    I am relieved not to have been a member at that time.

  8. #8
    ~Mav~ is offline Member
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    Smile Re: perfect infinitive - uses, functions, examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I am relieved not to have been a member at that time.
    Sure you are, but that thread is very instructive, isn't it? And I am sure that many people who read this thread will find those post extremely useful.

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