Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Thank you kindly! 

My head was hurting with the question:

"What would you have done?"

Does the person mean ...if you had been in my shoes? (Past modal)

or

I'm thinking of having something done in my house, but I can't decide whether to do the windows or roof; what would you have done? (Causative 'have')

I guess we need context to understand which meaning is intended?

AmitD posted:
I'm thinking of having something done in my house, but I can't decide whether to do the windows or roof; what would you have done? (Causative 'have')

I guess we need context to understand which meaning is intended?

Yes, Amit, "What would you have done?" is ambiguous: it could derive either from "you would have done X" or from "you would have X done." We do need context to understand which meaning is intended.

The causative interpretation would be unambiguous in a related question like "What did you have done?," since the causative interpretation is the only grammatical interpretation available.

Last edited by David, Moderator

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×