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    #1

    I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    Hello all.


    I have the following sentence:

    I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice. She was totally wrong.


    My textbook says I can use both "to follow" and "to have followed" as well. I would go for the "to follow" because to me it seems to be the most logical option. Why is it possible to use perfect infinitive? Does that emphasise something special compare to the "normal" infinitive?
    Thank you :))

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    Some people combine the ideas of 'It was stupid of me to follow' and 'It is stupid of me to have followed', ending up with 'It was stupid of me to have followed'

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    #3

    Re: I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    Yes, but the textbook says that often there is no difference between using simple infinitive or perfect infinitive. I wonder whether I can always use both simple infinitive or perfect infinitve without changing the meaning drastically. I assume there will always be situations where one of these two will fit much better but in my original sentence I would use "to follow" and consider "to have followed" to be wrong. Is it just about "wrong" use of language even from native speakers that "to have followed" is possible?

    Thanks

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominik92 View Post
    there is no difference between using simple infinitive or perfect infinitive.
    I think there is difference between the following ones:
    1. I am happy to go there. ── I have not yet gone there.
    2. I am happy to have gone there. ── I went there previously.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominik92 View Post
    Yes, but the textbook says that often there is no difference between using simple infinitive or perfect infinitive. I wonder whether I can always use both simple infinitive or perfect infinitve without changing the meaning drastically.
    Most native speakers imply to do not worry about technicalities in a sentence such as yours. We have a similar situation with:

    1. I would like to have gone.
    2. I would have liked to go.
    3. I would have liked to have gone.

    In the first, the speaker expresses present regret about something they did not do in the past.
    In the second, the speaker reports a past regret about something they were unable to do
    In the third, the speaker reports a past regret about something that did not do at an earlier past time.

    However, many speakers use the third with the meaning of the second. This 'mistake' is very common, and few but pedants are bothered by it.


    in my original sentence I would use "to follow" and consider "to have followed" to be wrong.
    'to have followed is, I suppose, technically wrong. As with my example above, few people will be bothered by it.

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    #6

    Re: I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    NOT A TEACHER

    Hello, Dominik:

    1. I agree with you that it might be better to say "I was really stupid to follow my mother's advice."

    a. The rule seems to be this: Use the present tense of the infinitive if two things happen at the same time.

    b. Let's say that yesterday your mother told you to take an umbrella to school, and yesterday you did so. When you arrived at school yesterday, all the other students laughed at you, for it turned out to be a very sunny day.

    c. So today you might tell a friend: "I was stupid [yesterday] to follow my mother's advice [yesterday]. Today I am not going to listen to any advice that she gives me."

    2. According to the rules, you should use the present perfect infinitive when you are referring to a time before the time expressed in the main verb.

    a. I am happy (now at 9:30 a.m.) to have had this talk with you (from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m.).

    3. Many books remind us that native speakers often break the rules.

    a. For example, some people may say "I intended to have stopped in to see you when I was in Kalamazoo." According to the rules, it should be: "I intended [on June 20] to stop in [on June 20] to see you when I was in Kalamazoo."


    Credit: The example sentences in No. 2 and No.3 come from Paul Roberts's Understanding Grammar (copyright 1954).


    ***** Here are more examples from another book.


    4. He is lucky [today] to have found his wallet [yesterday].
    5. I am sorry [now] to have startled [scared] you so [a few minutes ago].

    6. We had intended to visit them on the way home. [The intending and the visiting were on the same day.]
    7. Alan did not expect to be rewarded. [Same kind of explanation.]


    Credit: Corbin, Blough, and Beek in their Guide to Modern English [for Grade] 10 (copyright 1965).
    Last edited by TheParser; 25-Jun-2016 at 14:55.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    What those fifty/sixty-year old books don't appear to mention is that many native speakers do not follow the rules, especially in conversation. Learners would do well to follow the rules, but should be surprised to hear well educated speakers not following them.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    native speakers often break the rules.
    Is the following an example?
    http://www.talkenglish.com/lessondetails.aspx?ALID=2088

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Learners would do well to follow the rules
    That's why I used the perfect infinitive in this post.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #9

    Re: I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    Many books remind us that native speakers often break the rules.
    Many supposed rules of grammar never existed in English until a self-appointed expert invented them.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: I was really stupid to follow/to have followed my mother´s advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Learners would do well to follow the rules, but should not be surprised to hear well educated speakers not following them.
    I am not a teacher.

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