One I ascribe to my German provenience is the differentiation in usage between constructions with the word 'would' and the subjunctive (Konjunktiv I and II in German).
Alpe, I don't believe that it'll help you to compare English to German, for they are different languages.
To make it more concrete, a couple of weeks ago I heard on the radio a lady saying: "I would have hoped we would have had the possibility to apply our legal rights in this case."
My question now: Can you also say: "I had hoped, we would have had the possibility..."
Yes, you can say that, Alpe. Using 'would' is more emotive while 'had' is more a statement of straight fact.
or even "I had hoped, we had had the possibility..." (ok, admittedly, the latter sounds absurdly wrong)??
It sounds strange because it is semantically strange. It could see use but I just can't see a situation for it now. If we change the word from "possibility" to 'chance',
We had demanded that we had been given that possibility
In German, though, this usage of the 'subjunctive' would not only be perfectly fine, but also more correct ("Ich hätte gehofft, wir hätten die Gelegenheit gehabt..." as opposed to "Ich würde gehofft haben, wir würden diese Gelegenheit gehabt haben..."). It would be very interesting for me to know, where these differences in usage stem from and if it wouldn't even be correct in some strange very formal context to use my odd-sounding examples.
I have got a second example, although this time it is more of a question: The situation is that I have a computer and a printer, both of which are not connected to each other. IN spite of this, my computer keeps telling me that it is connected to the printer (obviously an error). Now what is correct? "My computer tells me it be connected to a printer."; "My computer tells me it were connected to a printer."; "My computer tells me it would be connected to a printer." or even "My computer tells me it is connected to a printer."?
The fourth is the only really natural one. The first is an older form of English that is possible, but not at all common today. The second and third ones, no.
Now this is a task for the grammar aces among you, isn't it?
Thanks for your help!