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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    "then+participle1" in a sentence

    Hello!

    Would you please explain me what time the participal bolded refers to (present or past)?
    and
    If we remove the word "then" from the sentence how will it change the time-meaning of the participal?



    Of the five, only company ABC, then earning $393 million, was owned by us in 2003.


    There are 2 ideas in the sentence.

    1. Company ABC was owned by us in 2003.

    and the second idea (and where i have understanding problem)

    2a. Company ABC was earning/earned 393 million in 2003. (past-time)
    or
    2b. Company ABC is earning/has earned 393 million (present year).

    Thanks for your answers.
    Last edited by andrew495; 04-Mar-2017 at 14:47.

  2. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "then+participle1" in a sentence

    In the above, "then earning" means "which was then (at that time) earning." We don't know if that is referring to 2003; it may be.

  3. Newbie
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    #3

    Re: "then+participle1" in a sentence

    I guess it needs additional context

    BNSF is the largest of our “Powerhouse Five,” a group that also includes Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Marmon, Lubrizol and IMC. Combined, these companies – our five most profitable non-insurance businesses – earned $13.1 billion in 2015, an increase of $650 million over 2014.

    Of the five, only Berkshire Hathaway Energy, then earning $393 million, was owned by us in 2003.
    Subsequently, we purchased three of the other four on an all-cash basis. In acquiring BNSF, however, we paid about 70% of the cost in cash and, for the remainder, issued Berkshire shares that increased the number outstanding by 6.1%. In other words, the $12.7 billion gain in annual earnings delivered Berkshire by the five companies over the twelve-year span has been accompanied by only minor dilution. That satisfies our goal of not simply increasing earnings, but making sure we also increase per-share results

    Having that context, is it possible definitly to undestand what time the "then earning" is reffer to? (2015 or 2003year.)
    Last edited by andrew495; 05-Mar-2017 at 18:34. Reason: clarification question

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