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  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #1

    Holy verb string, Batman!

    Yesterday, I said I was having a working lunch off site and would go home afterwards to take my 2 pm conference call.
    But our lunch meeting ran long. I need 45 minutes to get home. By 1:30, I knew I'd have to go back to my office for the 2 pm call instead of trying to get home.

    My coworker said "I thought you were going home for the afternoon."
    I said "I meant to, but I would have had to have left at 1:15 and we were still talking at 1:30."

    And then, language geek that I am, I wondered how many verbs that was in a row. And then I wondered if I could have said it in fewer words.

    Could you?
    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.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Holy verb string, Batman!

    I'd have said "I would have had to leave". You wouldn't have been obliged to have left at 1.15; you would have been obliged to leave at 1.15. Of course, if you are suggesting that a pre-1.15 departure was necessary, then the words you used are appropriate, if rather roundabout.

    It's a bit like the "I would have liked to have been there" that some of us say, when either "I would like to have been there" or "I would have liked to be there" is what we probably mean.

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    #3

    Re: Holy verb string, Batman!

    How about:

    It would have meant leaving

  3. Roman55's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Holy verb string, Batman!

    I am not a teacher.

    Why not simply, "...I needed to leave…"?

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Holy verb string, Batman!

    David Crystal, to whom I assign the status of demi-god, has blogged about this here.

    (You could always get a mobile )

    b

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Holy verb string, Batman!

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman55 View Post
    I am not a teacher.

    Why not simply, "...I needed to leave…"?
    I don't think that works for "I would have needed to leave ..."
    I think we're dealing with an implied conditional, "If I was/were to have gone home [counterfactual], I would have needed to leave/have left ...". "To be able to go home, I would have needed to leave ..." I think it's also true that "she would have needed to have left by 1.15", which has a slightly different meaning, but is still true.
    The reasoning is that if she had to leave by 1.15 to do something, then she would have had to have left by 1.15 to have done it.
    "I would have had to leave by 1.15 to be able to go home."
    "I would have had to have left by 1.15 to have been able to go home."

    From what I can deduce from Crystal's passage (as per Bob's post), the double perfective is "not necessary" here, but also not wrong.
    Last edited by Raymott; 28-Mar-2014 at 12:17.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Holy verb string, Batman!

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    David Crystal, to whom I assign the status of demi-god, has blogged about this here.
    Great resource. Thanks for the link. I may have to book mark him!

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    (You could always get a mobile )
    b
    Our company has a VERY strict no-multitasking policy about driving. When you drive, you drive. You don't participate on calls (and you certainly don't try to look at the screen that's showing the material we're reviewing).

    If you are even within a 30-mile radius of Wilmington, Delaware, and see people in parking lots on conference calls, they probably work for my company. I like it, actually. If someone sees you with your mouth moving in the car, you better have been singing along to the radio!
    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.

  7. BobK's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Holy verb string, Batman!

    It's not just a company thing over here; it's the law. Drivers have to stop (safely), and - strictly - stop the engine too, before using a hand-held phone. (Ridiculously, hands-free mobiles seem to be exempt. [I don't know if that's a legal exemption, but drivers and phone suppliers behave as if it were. ]

    b
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 28-Mar-2014 at 15:13. Reason: Minor typo

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Holy verb string, Batman!

    It always strikes me that if they're going to ban talking on a hands-free phone, then they will also have to ban having a conversation with your passenger(s) while you're driving.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #10

    Re: Holy verb string, Batman!

    With the newer cars, you can talk to your car and it will make the calls for you on your phone. No buttons to press (except for the one on the steering wheel to tell it "listen to my command.")

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