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    #1

    Could have done more to prevent/to have prevented

    Hi everyone,

    I always have difficulty choosing the correct option from the following type of sentences

    Option A: The defenders could have done more to prevent the goal that cost them the match.
    Option B: The defenders could have done more to have prevented the goal that cost them the match.

    I also have difficulties choosing the correct option from among sentences of the types shown below; for example, which is the best option for a boss to use in a welcome e-mail to a new employee if they know that they won't be there when the person starts?

    Option A: I would like to have welcomed you in person.
    Option B: I would have liked to welcome you in person.
    Option C: I would have liked to have welcomed you in person.

    I would be extremely grateful for any help with/explanations on these.

    regards

    John

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    #2

    Re: Could have done more to prevent/to have prevented

    Quote Originally Posted by userjohn View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I always have difficulty choosing the correct option from the following type of sentences

    Option A: The defenders could have done more to prevent the goal that cost them the match.
    Option B: The defenders could have done more to have prevented the goal that cost them the match.

    I would go/stay with Option B, past forms "have done/to have prevented.

    I also have difficulties choosing the correct option from among sentences of the types shown below; for example, which is the best option for a boss to use in a welcome e-mail to a new employee if they know that they won't be there when the person starts?

    Option A: I would like to have welcomed you in person.
    Option B: I would have liked to welcome you in person.
    Option C: I would have liked to have welcomed you in person.

    If the person has not yet started ("when the person starts") "I would like to welcome you in person, but unfortunately.....".
    If the person has already started , Option C.

    I would be extremely grateful for any help with/explanations on these.

    regards

    John
    b.

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    #3

    Re: Could have done more to prevent/to have prevented

    I can quote or concoct rules, but let's look at it from another perspective.

    There is a difference in meaning between "to prevent" and "to have prevented".

    To prevent is to do it. To have prevented is to be in a state where the prevention is already in place and no action is required any longer.

    The second sentence is very easy. You wanted to welcome your guest, not to be in state where you didn't have to do it.

    For the first, think of it this way. The goal likely was not the direct result of something someone had done previously -- like doctoring the ball or poisoning the striker? -- but rather came from the seconds of play immediately preceding it. That's when -- in the present of the game, as the play unfolds -- it was the time to do something. So, in retrospective, the defenders could have done more to prevent the goal that cost them the match.

    PS. If the only way to avoid the goal had been to poison the attackers before the game began, then the correct expression would have been "The defenders could have done more to have prevented the goal that cost them the match."
    Last edited by abaka; 05-Jul-2012 at 16:46. Reason: added PS

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