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  1. #1
    HSS is offline Junior Member
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    Default Would Have Had to Have Been -ing

    Hi.

    I heard someone say "I would have had to have been watching the game."
    What do you think he meant? What's the sense of the sentence --- would have had to have been ...?

    Best,

    Hiro

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Would Have Had to Have Been -ing

    The game is on Sundays, and it starts at 1 p.m.
    I always, always watch the game.

    Two years after a certain date, you say to me "What were you doing at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 9, 2005?" (I have no idea if May 9 was a Sunday, but let's pretend it was!)

    I have no real memory of May 9, but it was a Sunday and it was during the game.

    At 1:30? On a Sunday? Well, there's only one thing I would have possibly been doing then. I would have had to have been wathcing the game.

  3. #3
    Jason72 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Would Have Had to Have Been -ing

    Heh, it was Monday... You were close!

  4. #4
    HSS is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Would Have Had to Have Been -ing

    Hi, Barb.

    Then, it's close in meaning to "I probably must have been watching the game," isn't it?

    "Would have" and "had to" both present probability or likelihood, and "have been -ing" continuity, don't they?

    Best wishes,

    Hiro
    Last edited by HSS; 09-Jun-2007 at 12:37.

  5. #5
    HSS is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Would Have Had to Have Been -ing

    Some say 'would have' adds that an idea of watching the game did not happen in actuality. Which should I follow, that it happened or it did not?

    Many thanks,

    Hiro

  6. #6
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would Have Had to Have Been -ing

    Hi Hiro,
    (It's GG, by the way)

    I must have been watching the game is a good equivalent.

    I suppose you can make a different set of circumstances.
    If you hadn't asked me to go out with you tonight, I would have had to have been at home, entertaining my annoying cousins. In this case, I am out with you, so I am not at home, and my obligation to entertain them does not exist (had to have been = obligation )

    In the original, I read "had to" as "it must be the case, because nothing else makes sense" as in "Look at this vase - it has to be at least 200 years old."

  7. #7
    HSS is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Would Have Had to Have Been -ing

    Hi, Barb_D (or, GG!)

    How are you? Fine, I hope!

    So, 'would have' could mean you did it, or you didn't, couldn't it? Is it context-dependent? It seems (to me) as though if you feel there is an unwritten if-clause behind, the sentence oftentimes carries the sense of 'you didn't,' and if you don't, the sense of 'you probably did,' doesn't it?

    Hiro

  8. #8
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: Would Have Had to Have Been -ing

    If I understand what you wrote, then yes, you have it!

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