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  1. #1
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Unhappy Participle clauses

    Hello everybody!

    Every once in a while, I come across something that I can't get hold of. This time it's all about a participle clause with adverbial meaning.
    This is the sentence in question:

    Her mother, having been an attentive person, spotted this at once.
    or
    Having been an attentive person, her mother spotted this at once.

    Is it logically constructed? I mean to ask, is the use of the perfect infinitve form (having been...) proper here? What I know is that using such a form, we're implying that one situation has an impact on another, and, at the same time, it gives us the order of things that happen (i.e. which one is the first to happen).

    Rephrasing the sentence, we'll get this:

    Because her mother had been an attentive person, she spotted this at once.

    To me, the above sentence reads as follows:
    • first, her mother was an attentive person (which suggests that she is not attentive any more, ...had been..., at the time of spotting something later on)

    • second, she spotted this at once.


    So I think that the only logical version of the sentence is:

    Being an attentive person, her mother spotted this at once.

    Am I right in thinking? Or maybe I am missing something.

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Participle clauses

    'Having been' would work only if it referred to a previous state that was no longer true: 'Having been a Scout in his youth, he knew the difference between a sheet-bend and a reef knot.' [He was no longer a Scout, but he had kept the knowledge.]

    (I guess you know this, but I thought the example might be useful to other readers.)

    b

  3. #3
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Thumbs up Re: Participle clauses

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    ...
    (I guess you know this, but I thought the example might be useful to other readers.)

    b
    Yes, I do know this, BobK. I just wanted confirmation, and I got it.
    Thanks.

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