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    #1

    modal + past infinitive

    what is the implication of using a perfect infinitive after the modal verbs in the following sentences?

    - I suggested that he should have take a break.

    Does this mean he didn't actually take the break and I'm speculating about something that didn't happen?

    Since I would have said "... that he should take a break", I would like to know in what this differs from "... that he should have taken".

    - I'd have thought he'd have jumped at the chance.
    - He promised he would have posted it before 6 o'clock.

    Same questions as above, but here I am more certain that this implies he didn't actualy jump at the chance, or didn't post it before that time.

    If I said "...he'd jump at the chance" and "... that he'd post it", I don't specify where he did the action or not because I'm placing myself before the events where supposed to have taken place, i.e. at the time of my thinking, or his promise, right?

    Thanks.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: modal + past infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by licinio View Post
    what is the implication of using a perfect infinitive after the modal verbs in the following sentences?

    - I suggested that he should have taken a break.

    Does this mean he didn't actually take the break and I'm speculating about something that didn't happen? Yes.


    Thanks.
    Bhai.

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    #3

    Re: modal + past infinitive

    Ok. Just saying "I suggested he should take a break" would be possible, I expect, whether he took it or not? Only I'm not underlying he didn't take it, contrary to my suggestion, right?

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: modal + past infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by licinio View Post
    Ok. Just saying "I suggested he should take a break" would be possible, I expect, whether he took it or not? Only I'm not underlying he didn't take it, contrary to my suggestion, right?
    Yes, "I suggested he should take a break" is fine and it doesn't tell us whether he took it or not.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: modal + past infinitive

    The answer depends on whether we are talking about reported speech or not. Generally modal constructions do not backshift in reported speech*.

    In these examples, I have used 'he'; 'you is a little unnatural sometimes:

    1. "He should take a break." =
    It would be a good idea if he took a (present-, general- or future- time) break. I don't know whether he will follow my advice.
    2. "He should have taken a break" = It would have been a good idea if he had taken a (past-time) break, but he didn't.

    3. "I suggest he take a break." - similar to #1.

    1a. I suggested (that) he (should) take a break. The reporting of #1 and #3. It is not known whether he took a break.
    2a. I suggested (that) he should have taken a break.The reporting of 2. He didn't take a break.


    (*This means that we cannot tell from the words He said that he would resign if I didn't give him a rise whether the original statement was a first or second conditional)

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    #6

    Re: modal + past infinitive

    Thanks fivejedjon, your reference to indirect speech clarified everything!

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