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  1. #1

    I regret having done vs to have done something

    I would spontaneoulsly have used a gerund after the verb "regret", as in "I regretted not having bought / not buying the house while the interest rates vere low" since regrets occur in connection with acts that one has actually performed (or not performed).

    However, I discovered a significant number of occurrences of sentences featuring the structure "I regret not to have done something" on Google.

    Could I ask you if you would consider such kind of sentences as acceptable ?

    Many thanks in advance for your help.

  2. Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I regret having done vs to have done something

    .
    The number of Google hits I get for regret not to have (709 pages) suggests that it is substandard.
    .

  3. #3

    Re: I regret having done vs to have done something

    First of all, don't trust Google too much. Remember that it's used by many non-native speakers. Instead, try to use a corpus, such as http://www.collins.co.uk/Corpus/CorpusSearch.aspx
    But even in Google, the results for ""I regret not to have" are 292, compared to 68500 for ""I regret not having".
    In Collins WordbanksOnline English corpus, the results were as follows:
    "regret+not+having"
    =4 results
    "regret+not+to+have"
    =0
    "regretted+not+having"
    =3 results
    "regretted+not+to+have"
    =0
    Thus, we could conclude that "regret not to have done something" is either extremely rare or, more probably, flat out ungrammatical

  4. #4

    Re: I regret having done vs to have done something

    That is precisely why I wanted to check it out on this forum. Thanks a lot, Mr Micawber and Mariner.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I regret having done vs to have done something

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephan Wilhelm View Post
    I would spontaneoulsly have used a gerund after the verb "regret", as in "I regretted not having bought / not buying the house while the interest rates vere low" since regrets occur in connection with acts that one has actually performed (or not performed)...
    There is a case where 'regret to have to' occurs in native speakers' speech, but in that case "have" isn't the auxiliary in a perfect construction:

    "I regret to have to inform you that your father has died."

    As it uses a different sense of "have", this is essentially irrelevant. But any on-line search needs to take this sort of usage into account.

    b

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    #6

    Re: I regret having done vs to have done something

    You sometimes find the "regret to have done" construction in older texts, e.g.

    1. However, he put on a high look: "A Hangman, such as you, naturally takes pleasure in talking of his tools and his trade: but on me they will not produce any effect. I have owned everything;--and almost regret to have done so."(Carlyle, History of Friedrich II of Prussia)

    But it would sound a little odd in modern standard English.

    MrP

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