Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: would have liked.

would have liked.

This phrase should invariably be followed by a present-tense infinitive — hence “would have liked to go,” “would have liked to read,” not *”would have liked to have gone,” *”would have liked to have read.” The erroneous phrasings are very common — e.g.: o “One would have liked to have been [read ‘would have liked to be’] present at the meeting in which the introduction of this equipment was ratified.” Giles Smith, “‘Replay’ Ends Dispute over Hurst’s Goal,” Daily Telegraph, 16 Aug. 1997, at 21. o “Clapp said he would have liked to have seen [read ‘would have liked to see’] more teams involved in postseason play.” Richard Obert, “Expanded Playoffs Rejected,” Ariz. Republic, 29 Aug. 1997, at C12. Nor is it correct to say *”would like to have done,” because the sequence of events is then off. Language-Change Index — “would have liked” followed by perfect infinitive: Stage 4. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “It is fun to snap [students] out of sloppy thinking or to bring them up sharply from the abyss of no thinking at all; to make them conscious of the interdependence of words and thoughts; to make them see that a paragraph is a logical progression of sentences and thought that march along together, each depending upon the other; to make them see words with their eyes; to teach them that ears alone are the most dangerous of senses.” Mary Ellen Chase, “The Teaching of English,” in Unseen Harvests 359, 62 (Claude M. Fuess & Emory S. Basford eds., 1947).
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