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Would have...

Subject + would have + past participle verb phrase

This is used to to say that in the past the subject would have done something different to the person who did the event. They give advice on what has happened.

Image by Juan Ordonez
Image by Kyriacos Georgiou

Past

Now

Future

Actual event: go to Tunisia

Advised event: go to Morocco

A: How was your holiday?

B: I didn't like it.

A: Where did you go?

B: We went to Tunisia.

A: I would have gone to Morocco.​

  • The event (go to Tunisia) was in the past

  • B went to Tunisia

  • A would have gone to Morocco

  • A did not go to Morocco

Review

Please look at this lesson on how to use 'would' if you do not know it.

Subject + would + present tense verb phrase

This is used to say what the subject would do for events in the future if they were the person.

Past

Now

Future

go to Morocco

I would go to Morocco.

Would vs Would have

Would

Would have

Past

Now

Future

Past

Now

I would go to Morocco.

  • What the subject would do in the future

  • Event has not happened yet

I would have gone to Morocco.

  • What the subject would have done in the past

  • The event has happened

  • Did the subject go to Morocco? No.

Future

Explain

Pizza
Image by amirali mirhashemian

Past

Now

Future

Actual event: had a pizza

Advised event: had a burger

  • The event was in the past

  • Someone had a pizza

  • The subject says what they would have done

I would have had a burger.

Conversation

A: How was dinner?

B: It was nice to see my friends but the food wasn't good.

A: What did you have?

B: I had a pizza.

A: I would have had a burger. They look delicious there.

Led TV
Image by Thought Catalog

Past

Now

Future

Actual event: watched a terrible film

Hypothetical event: read a book

  • The event was in the past

  • Someone watched a terrible film

  • The subject says what they would have done

I would have read a book.

Conversation

A: What did you do last night?

B: I watched a terrible film. It was called The Big Sick. Have you seen it?

A: Yes, it's awful. I would have read a book.

Taxi Driver and Passenger
Taxi Driver and Passenger

Past

Now

Future

Actual event: did not pick them up

Advised event: picked them up

  • The event was in the past

  • Someone did not pick their friend up from the airport

  • The subject says what they would have done.

I would have picked them up.

NOTE: The person / people that do or do not do the event in the past can be the same person / people as the subject.

Conversation

A: What time is Becky getting here?

B: I'm not sure. She hasn't called from the train.

A: Why didn't you pick her up?

B: I am too busy. I would have picked them up but I can't.

Verbs

Vocabulary

Practice

A: Did you see that the Da Vinci exhibition has closed?

B: Oh no! I couldn't get tickets.

A: I couldn't either. I would have gone.

A: I went to see The Rolling Stones last week.

B: At Wembley?

A: Yes. I should have enjoyed it but it wasn't great. 

B: I love The Rolling St