was to have solved

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was to have solved

Post by azz » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:57 am

a. He was the man who was to solve the problem, but he didn't do anything.

b. I talked to the engineer who was to fix the system, but he said he couldn't do it.

c. He was the man who was to have solved the problem, but he didn't do anything.

d. I talked to the engineer who was to have fixed the system, but he said he couldn't do it.



Are the above sentences grammatically correct and do they make sense?

In all cases, the person has been given the task of doing something (solve the problem, fix the system).


Many thanks.
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Re: was to have solved

Post by Phil White » Fri Nov 30, 2018 4:02 pm

Interesting. They are all okay and all carry the same meaning. Generally, I think I would probably prefer the perfective version if I were to use that construction.

I do find it odd that the perfect infinitive does not add any nuance of meaning that the simple infinitive does not have (both imply that the person did not actually do what was required of them). But I can't detect any difference.
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: was to have solved

Post by gdwdwrkr » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:46 pm

c. would be more correct: He was the man who was to have solved the problem, but he hadn't done anything.
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