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The Perfect Infinitive (have + past participle) can be used with WOULD LIKE/LOVE/HATE/PREFER, etc. to refer to an unreal event in the past.




The Perfect Infinitive (have + past participle) can be used with WOULD LIKE/LOVE/HATE/PREFER, etc. to refer to an unreal event in the past.

"I would like to have seen the Taj Mahal when I was in India." 
"He would have wanted to be a doctor but working in industry paid better."

The perfect infinitive is necessary to mark the event as unreal past, but there are two possibilities: WOULD LIKE TO HAVE DONE expresses a present regret/desire/intention, etc. about a past event, whereas WOULD HAVE LIKED TO DO expresses a past regret/desire/intention, etc. about a past event.

 "I do regret to have loved that woman." (I still think falling in love with her was a big mistake)
"I would have hated to be the person who cleaned up that mess." (I'm looking back in time; I was glad that I did not have to clean it up then)

Say, last year you went to New York City and while you were there you didn't visit your old Uncle Hank because you were too busy. He has since died.

"I would like to have visited Uncle Hank." (I regret now that I didn't see him)

And, say, last year you also were in LA and didn't visit your Uncle Bob because your wife was dead against it. That was a real pity for you then.

"I would have liked to visit Bob but Mary didn't want to." (I really wanted to see him then)

Although many speakers will use one or the other without making any such distinction, when you want to make this absolutely clear, the two forms aren't alternatives but a necessary choice.

"I would prefer to have stayed at a small, family-run hotel than a big international chain." (describes the speakers feelings at the time of speaking)
"I would have preferred to stay at a small, family-run hotel." (describes the speaker’s feelings at a certain time in the past)

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