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Grammar - verb tense - having had

Discussion in 'English Only' started by AWordLover, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    In thread http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=455851&highlight=having+had

    The sentence
    is discussed so that the meaning of having had is understood.

    In this thread jlc246 commented:
    I understand what the sentence means (really).
    Why is having had the correct tense here?
     
  2. WongFeiHung

    WongFeiHung Senior Member

    USA English
    I had to read over it a while, I think it would be better if it were to say,
    "It is record, that having had a vision of a labarum with the message "..." before the Battle of ... etc."
    You know when you see something like "had had" which doesn't make sense but it works? - this is sort of like it. I think the first "having" is used to make it more in the past and to make it an isolated incident, and maybe to add some continuity (some flow)? If they just said, "It is record that he had a vision", no clear referrence to time is made.
    Ok so maybe I'm rambling, but I hope I was halfway clear in my explanation!
     
  3. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    Thanks WongFeiHung,

    I'm not trying to improve the sentence, I'm trying to understand what tense "having had" is and why it should be used.

    Thanks,
    AWordLover
     
  4. WongFeiHung

    WongFeiHung Senior Member

    USA English
    "Having ___" is a common construction, for example, "Having done this, now I'm going to...", or "After having made dinner, now he says he's going out" or "Having said this, now..."
    And if we say, I had a vision, then it must be, "Having had a vision, ..."
    Here, "having" is the present participle, and "had" is the participle. I don't think it should be used, there are other options, but because you're referring to a past event the 'had' is used. I think it's called the 'historic present'?
     
  5. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    These participle clauses have an advantage of brevity when the subject of both clauses is the same, as in this case, and this is probably why it was used:
    (I have cut out the guff in the sentence to make it clearer)
    "Having had a vision of with the message "by this sign you shall conquer", Constantine presented himself to the Bishop of Rome."
    The second clause (after the comma) happened as a result of the event in the first clause, it doesn't merely follow it for no reason. "Having had" tells you of this relationship in an economical way.

    "Constantine had a vision and then presented himself to the Bishop" doesn't tell you this, you would have to write something like "As a result of having a vision, Constantine presented himself to the Bishop". The elegance of "having had" is probably handy when writing such packed sentences as this writer, too.
     
  6. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    Thank you very WongFeiHung,

    Now I think I finally get it.
    Using this exerpt from http://www.edufind.com/english/grammar/ING2.cfm
    .
    Having, a present participle, is being used to replace a clause starting with since. "Having had" is replacing "since he had had". Now it makes sense. Although I understood the sentence, explaining the grammar was beyond me.

    My thirst for an explanation has been slaked.

    Because these verbs are in the past tense, I don't think this is the historical present.
     
  7. signpen Junior Member

    "Even so, however, the total was significantly below that in most European countries, high factory wages having already tempted people to leave the countryside in favour of the industrial cities."
    This was my problem of the last two hours and it's actually the reason why I'm here- but why do native speaker... ;)
    Please tell me finally if there is a special name for that thing!
    (Eventual correction on my English I accept gratefully.)
     
  8. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    :arrow: Response to post #
    Welcome to the forum, signpen. :)

    I call "having tempted" the present perfect participle modifying "wages". It functions differently from the participle in the sentence discussed above. In that sentence, "having had" describes the king, the subject of the main clause. In your sentence, having tempted is part of a phrase that describes the conditions under which the first part of the sentence (the low total) occurred. It does not describe any particular part of the first part (main clause). I would call this an "absolute construction."

    If want to know what an absolute construction is, I suggest that you look at the following threads. (We try to keep the threads focussed on one topic at a time.)There are more, but I wasn't able to find them.

    If you have further questions, you can add them to a suitable existing thread, just as you did here. It was nice of you to take the time to find a thread on which to post your question.
     
  9. signpen Junior Member

    Hello Cagey, thank you for your welcome.
    To the topic: I thought actually that in my example the having was just as AWordLover said to replace since:
    Since high factory wages had already tempted people..., the total was below...
     
  10. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    I see that I misunderstood
    your question, but, yes, you certainly could replace it with "since". In both cases, the participles are part of a phrase giving the reason, so they do the same job, even if they are not grammatically the same. But because they both explain, they both can be replaced with the same kind of relative clause.
     
  11. Joelouie New Member

    English - Canadian
    Hello, I found this thread while looking for an answer to a a similar question from an English student of mine.
    He asked about the grammar behind the sentence
    "I regret not having had the confidence to take more risks.”
    Thanks to your explanations, I now realize that the present participle is used to explain "Why" she did not take more risks.
    However, because it is the negative form, I'm having trouble coming up with a clear explanation of what tense it is and how to rewrite it using "had had".
    I need to still use the word "regret" if possible, because the lesson is on 'talking about regret'.
    Thank you for any help you can give me!
     
  12. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    In your sentence, the "had" is not an auxiliary verb and could be replaced by one of several other past participles - possessed, developed, mustered etc. Does that help parsing the sentence?
     
  13. velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    I doubt whether it's possible to rewrite the sentence using "had had" without changing the verb and losing the negation.
     
  14. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    In this sentence the phrase "not having had ....." acts as a noun and is the object of "regret". Thus, I would call "having had" a gerund.

    In general, regret takes a noun form as an object, whether it is a noun form of a verb, as in your sentence, or an ordinary noun, e.g., I regret my mistake.

    If you want to use 'had had' you could use 'that clause' as the object:
    I regret that I had had too much to drink.
    (I am not certain what the point is of this exercise, so I am not sure this is helpful.)
     
  15. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    In this sentence the phrase "not having had ....." acts as a noun and is the object of "regret". Thus, I would call "having had" a gerund.

    In general, regret takes a noun form as an object, whether it is a noun form of a verb, as in your sentence, or an ordinary noun, e.g., I regret my mistake.

    If you want to use 'had had' you could use 'that clause' as the object:
    I regret that I had had too much to drink.
    (I am not certain what the point is of this exercise, so I am not sure this is helpful.)
     

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