Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. Noego's Avatar
    Senior Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • French
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 583

    Negative Participative clause

    Look at the following sentence:

    "[Having not got/Not having got] a university degree, I found it difficult to get a job."

    Could you ever say: "having not got" in a sentence?

    "[Being not satisfied/Not being satisfied] with her playing, she decided to get some advice from a golf professional."

    Now, I don't understand why "Being not satisfied" is not the right answer.

    Could anyone explain to me the difference in meaning between:

    "Being not satisfied/Not being satisfied" in the above context?

    I can't figure out the difference between the two.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: Negative Participative clause

    As an adverb, not can modify a verb or an adjective. When it modifies an adjective or a verb, it goes before it, like this,

    I have a car.
    I do not have a car.

    I am tall.
    I am not tall.

    Now, given your first example, the phrase having got a university degree is made up of a head, the present participle having and its object got a university degree. The entire phrase functions adjectivally, which is why the adverb not is placed before it:

    [1] Not having got a university degree, I found it difficult to get a job.
    [2] Having not got a university degree, I found it difficult to get a job.

    In [2], not modifies the verb got, and the result is the semantically awkward, having (affirmative have) + not got a university degree (negative haven't); Cf. ?having no shoes (you have shoes but you don't); ?having had no breakfast (You had breakfast but you didn't).

    Quote Originally Posted by Noego
    Could you ever say: "having not got" in a sentence?
    Of course you could. There are two possibilities. First, if having and not got belong to different phrases, then yes it's possible:

    [3] Having (the words) "not got" as a possible choice on exam question No.7

    Having functions as a participle, whereas not got functions as its nominal object. They don't belong to the same phrase.

    [3] Having "not got" <verbal phrase + noun phrase>

    In our example [2], provided below, not got functions as part of the same verbal phrase as having.

    [2] Having not got <verbal phrase>
    [3] Having "not got" <verbal phrase + noun phrase>

    Second, people do indeed use having not VERB as a verbal phrase, especially when they want to emphasize the VERB, but that's not the usual way a verbal phrase is modified. That that structure exists, that people are using it has most likely to do with the syntax and semantics of the participle having.

    In terms of syntax or word order, gerunds, verbal nouns that look just like present participles, tend to occur sentence-initially more often than do present participles. Gerunds take the adjective no; e.g. "No dumping" was posted at the lake, whereas participles don't; e.g., the ungrammaticality here *No having got a university degree.

    Given that gerunds and present participles look the same but don't act the same, it's not always clear how those phrases should be modified.So,people will do what comes naturally; they do what they know, which is negate the verb; i.e., Having not got a university degree.

    In terms of semantics, students as well as native speakers have asked this question frequently, What exactly do having and being mean? (Their semantic contribution is fuzzy - even to me.) As you know, it's difficult to negate a word the meaning of which is fuzzy, and in such instances we do what comes natural to us; we do what we know, and that's to negate the verb; i.e., Having not got a university degree. Now, that's not the usual way of modifying a verbal phrase, but it's what some speakers and writers are doing today. The expected way is to premodify the verbal phrase, Not having got... .

    All the best.

Similar Threads

  1. negative + non-restrictive clause
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 08-May-2009, 16:51
  2. relative pro...
    By nautes20 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 30-Nov-2004, 14:49
  3. We can reduce adverb clauses to adverb phrases. Why?
    By Steven D in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 48
    Last Post: 23-Sep-2004, 14:42
  4. relative clause
    By hela in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-Jun-2004, 00:15


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts