What is correct?

“He would have liked to have used my phone” or “He would have liked to use my phone” ?


In my humble opinion both are equally “correct”.

“He wanted to use my phone” is the meaning of each, but by comparison, it sounds rather plain and unsophisticated.


Merely analyzing the grammar, they don’t quite mean the same thing.

“He would have liked to use my phone” (your second sentence) means: he wanted to use it.

“He would have liked to have used my phone” (your first sentence) means: he wished he had used it sometime before. It is a “double jump” back in time. It wouldn’t usually be expressed like that, however.

In slang, sometime people use these “doubled” structures to mean the same thing as the more simple sentence. That may be happening in the sentence you’re asking about, if you read or heard it somewhere. Another prominent example of this phenomenon are double negatives (“I didn’t do nothing!”) - according to standard grammar they mean the opposite of a simple negative (“I didn’t do nothing” technically means: “I did something”), but people don’t mean it that way.


I like this idea of “double jump”. :rofl:

To me it depends on the context. It seems that in the first sentence, the speaker wants to reinforce the action in the past before something else occured after the phone could have been used. It is more specific than generic. Imho.

Let’s see chatGPT:
Both sentences are correct, but they convey slightly different nuances:

1. “He would have liked to have used my phone.” This sentence emphasizes the completion of the action in the past. It implies that the opportunity to use the phone was missed or that circumstances prevented him from using it.
2. “He would have liked to use my phone.” This sentence simply states the desire to use the phone in the past without emphasizing whether or not the action was completed. It focuses more on the desire itself rather than the outcome.


I’ll go with this answer, for me they are very similar in meaning, and any difference is stylistic.

Yes I do agree with the other two answers. I would probably use the longer version, it just sounds better to me, due to agreement of tense.

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I agree with you, Leif. If I had to choose one over the other, I’d go for the longer version, too, for the same reasons that you cite.