"We didn't need to have been in such a hurry. The train pulled out only half an hour after we got to the train station."
Could I say that? Would it sound better with "shouldn't have been in such a hurry"?
Last edited by ostap77; 15-Sep-2012 at 20:29.
How would you put it?
Part of the problem is that you say "only" which shows you think the time was very short.
It's a good thing we hurried - the train pulled out only five minutes after we got there.
We didn't need to have hurried - the train didn't pull out until half an hour after we got here.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
I'd use We needn't have hurried.
Would it be totally unnatural to say "We didn't need to have been in a hurry"?
Last edited by ostap77; 15-Sep-2012 at 22:36.
Maybe only 87%.
I'd say it was unnatural: what you didn't need to have done was hurry (not be in a hurry). So 'needn't have hurried' sounds more natural.
After that, as Barb said, the 'only' sounds odd. You want to say how long the difference was between 'just in time' and '30 minutes after we arrived'. I'd say somethig like 'We needn't have hurried. The train pulled out
onlya good half an hour after we got to the trainstation.' (No need to repeat 'train'; we already know you caught a train there, so we don't need to be told what sort of station it was.)
BrE would prefer needn't have been... while AmE speakers will (I believe) tend to prefer the non-modal form, as used here. Shouldn't have been would be different in meaning.
What meaning would that be if I said "We shouldn't have hurried......."? I'll go on with the next sentence. "We're going to have to do without the suitcase we left at home" OK? Is better to use "have" or "need" as in "going to have/need......"?