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Hi all

Up to that point Keaton had just been a name to me. For someone interested in the silent era not to have seen / not having seen one of his films was like being interested in 1960s English pop music without having heard the Rolling Stones.

I have an opinion about the underlined part, but I would like to hear what other members think. Thank you.

Cheers
CB
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English has a structure called a "for ... to ..." clause. It doesn't have one called a "for ... -ing ..." clause!

For me to explain it further is probably unnecessary!
*For me explaining it ...

CJ
Comments  
Probably both ways of saying this are clear; however, for the sake of writing a sentence that follows the principle of 'parallelism,' the gerund choice (not having seen) is in the same form as the parallel verb in the next phrase--"like being interested." If the writer wants to use the infinitive "not to have seen," then the next verbal phrase should be "was like to be interested."
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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
SpidesProbably both ways of saying this are clear; however, for the sake of writing a sentence that follows the principle of 'parallelism,' the gerund choice (not having seen) is in the same form as the parallel verb in the next phrase--"like being interested." If the writer wants to use the infinitive "not to have seen," then the next verbal phrase should be "was like to be interested."
Like + infinitive is impossible here since like isn't a verb. The text is from The Sunday Times and the writer used the infinitive (not to have seen), which is what CJ suggested. The gerund wouldn't bother my ear because the for-structure is so far from the gerund. English is quite flexible in these matters, which I think is good. Another example:

A few months ago I asked about the correctness of

"I'd rather go on hearing your lies
than to go on living without you."
- Are You Lonesome Tonight

Most members accepted the above as correct, which is fine by me. Strictly speaking the to in bold is ungrammatical, though. The plain infinitive is used after would rather.

Cheers
CB