Having been bitten

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nikolajanevski

New Member
Macedonian
Hi,

I am having problems understanding the grammar of -ing particle clauses. Can somebody help me?

Example:
"Having been bitten by a large collie when he was a child, he was never able to conquer his fear of dogs." - from Essentials of Writting, fifth edition.

Thank you.
 
  • Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Welcome to the forums, nikolajanevski. :)

    The way it works here is that you tell us what you think or ask a specific question about the part of the issue that is particularly confusing and then other people try to help. This isn't a forum for general explanations; it's for discussion.

    (And it's great! I'm sure you'll like it here very much.)
     

    nikolajanevski

    New Member
    Macedonian
    The problem is that I don't know from where to start.
    I don't know how to decide which tense is this particle.
    My opinion would be that it is past perfect continuous passive.
    I know that have is the perfect auxiliary and been is the passive auxiliary, but I can't understand why does 'have' has and '-ing' ending. Also I don't know when to use this type of construction.

    I hope this makes things a little bit clear.
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    My opinion would be that it is past perfect continuous passive.
    It's present perfect continuous passive..

    I have been bitten = (present perfect)
    Having been bitten by Graham's dog, he caught rabies... etc.

    Also I don't know when to use this type of construction.
    It's generally a descriptive device used in telling stories, generally it's used when you are following it with a consequence.
    It's not like "I have been bitten" which can be a statement of fact, it, well, like I said before, it's used to show consequences of an action, but it's quite formal and used in stories/storytelling..

    When Brian went to the interview, he was not nervous at all, in fact, the opposite. Having been invited to attend interviews for most of his life it was just like a daily routine for him.

    Here this is used to show that the consequence of being invited to lots of interviews, he was no longer nervous anymore.
    I wouldn't use this when speaking only in writing.
     
    Last edited:

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    Simply put, having been bitten in this case means the same as because he had been bitten, so, in 'translation':

    Because he had been bitten by a large collie when he was a child, he was never able to conquer his fear of dogs.

    Because works with Alex' example, too, although this is not always the case, as explained in the instructive link Loob provided. Also, as stated there, the subject of the -ing clause must be the same as the subject of the main sentence. Therefore, I see a problem with Alex' example: the subject of the main sentence is it, but the subject of the -ing clause is he, so I find it perfectly understandable but perhaps questionable for a purist...

    Having been invited to attend interviews for most of his life it was just like a daily routine for him. =
    Because he had been invited to attend interviews for most of his life it was just like a daily routine for him.

    If I'm wrong, or right but being picky, I apologise in advance...

    /Wilma
     

    nikolajanevski

    New Member
    Macedonian
    the subject of the -ing clause must be the same as the subject of the main sentence. Therefore, I see a problem with Alex' example: the subject of the main sentence is it, but the subject of the -ing clause is he, so I find it perfectly understandable but perhaps questionable for a purist...

    Having been invited to attend interviews for most of his life it was just like a daily routine for him.

    /Wilma
    In standard English it is not acceptable the subject of the main sentence to be different from the subject of the -ing clause, but in colloquial English it is okay. For example:

    "Now, Hamlet, hear. ’Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard, a serpent stung me." - from Hamlet.
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    In standard English it is not acceptable the subject of the main sentence to be different from the subject of the -ing clause, but in colloquial English it is okay. For example:

    "Now, Hamlet, hear. ’Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard, a serpent stung me." - from Hamlet.
    OK, I was being picky, then. Who can argue against William Shakespeare? :D

    /Wilma
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    "Now, Hamlet, hear. ’Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard, a serpent stung me." - from Hamlet.
    Yes, here Shakespeare has moved the descriptive phrase forward, away from its subject "me". It would otherwise be:
    "’Tis given out that, a serpent stung me sleeping in my orchard."
    We are not likely to criticize Shakespeare, nor to classify this as "colloquial speech".

    However, where standard English is required, this construction would be marked as an error.
     

    MikeLynn

    Senior Member
    Not criticizing, not prescribing, but the way I would understand the line after a logical analysis would be that a snake that was sleeping in my orchard stung me-hard to imagine a sleeping snake attacking somebody. When it's asleep, it should be quite harmless :)
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I didnt realise there would be such scrutiny:) I wasn't even aware of that rule, it sounds fine to me, well, in that case we can easily edit the sentence..

    When Brian went to the interview, he was not nervous at all, in fact, the opposite. Having been invited to attend interviews for most of his life, he was use to this feeling, and expected nothing.

    I do find it strange for 'it' to be considered incorrect in standard English, I really do.
     

    sevengem

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    How about "Bitten by a large collie when he was a child, he was never able to conquer his fear of dogs"?
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    How about "Bitten by a large collie when he was a child, he was never able to conquer his fear of dogs"?
    That sounds incomplete to me. I think it would be grammatically correct to say "Having been bitten by a large collie when he was a child, he was never able to conquer his fear of dogs", but it sounds more formal/literary than conversational to me. In speech, a more likely wording would be "He was bitten by a large collie when he was a child, and he never conquered/overcame his fear of dogs" or something like that.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    We've been there before:
    done/having been done

    Did you follow Loob's link in this thread?


    having been + past participle
    Note that this passive structure can also be used in participle clauses as an alternative to a since-clause:

    Having been invited to the party by Prince William himself, we could hardly refuse to go. ( = Since we had been invited…)
    Having been deprived of food for over twenty days, the castaway was fed intravenously at first.
    Having been unemployed for over two years, I found it difficult to get work.
     
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