David Crystal’s latest blog post is titled “On ‘I would have liked to have studied”.
David says, “A correspondent writes to ask if I could explain the difference in the meaning between the following sentences: (1) I would like to have studied philosophy. (2) I would have liked to study philosophy. (3) I would have liked to have studied philosophy.The underlying issue is one of focus. Where is the perfective meaning inherent in the auxiliary verb have being focused? In (1) the liking is now and the studying is some time in the past. In (2) the liking is some time in the past (and thus the study). In (3) both the liking and the study are in the past.”