Having overslept, I missed my train.

Ahyeon

Senior Member
Korean
Is the participle clause below possible?

I overslept and missed my train. --> Having overslept, I missed my train.

Thank you!
 
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Participle constructions do of course exist, but I don't think many people would choose to use one to describe this situation in a conversation.
    :thumbsup:

    When students are taught this type of participle construction, some tend to over use it. The construction, in normal English, is not very common and, as an example, "I overslept and missed my train." is natural and far commoner than "Having overslept, I missed my train."
     
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    Ahyeon

    Senior Member
    Korean
    When students are taught this type of participle construction, some tend to over use it. The construction, in normal English, is not very common and, as an example, "I overslept and missed my train." is natural and far commoner than "Having overslept, I missed my train."
    Thank you, PaulQ! I just wanted to know if 'Having overslept, I missed my train' was a good English sentence. Would it be OK in written English?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Yes, it is OK in written English - it seems to be a style that is best used in a story or at least narration.
     

    baab

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    Thank you, it is great to know that the construction is used mostly in written English.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I missed my train, having overslept as usual.

    I could write that to somebody and I might even say it. I think that in this particular sentence it's a bit more natural to begin with the main verb and tack the participial phrase on at the end, where it is less prominent.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    It's worth mentioning that, as NOT mentioned in the OP, we are dealing with perfect constructions with participles. Velisarius' example confirms this, in that she could have said, "I missed my train because I had overslept, as usual."

    It is this sentence which, so to say, is converted to

    [V:] I missed my train, having overslept as usual.


    In the OP, the conversion proposed somewhat confuses the matter.

    [Ahyeon] I overslept and missed my train. --> Having overslept, I missed my train.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    Ahyeon proposed: [A*] Having overslept, I missed my train.

    'Having overslept' implies completion, just as does the sentence, "I missed the train because I had overslept."

    My example, a present participle without a perfect construction, makes the oversleeping in parallel to I awoke late.

    Bennymix's example: Oversleeping, I awoke late and missed my train.

    The missing of the the train is parallel with the waking or a bit after.

    I wrote the sentence with the added clause to make it a plausible, natural one.

    The 'ing' form often indicates simultaneity: Not seeing the dog, I stumbled over him.:tick:

    Contrast with, Not having seen the dog, I stumbled over him.:( This is not ungrammatical but is a little weird, much like Ahyeon's proposal, A*



    How does 'Oversleeping;' differ from 'having overslept', please?
    Does the first one imply I was still sleeping at the time my train left?
    Thanks.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I don't agree with benny's suggestion of using the present participle.

    "Oversleeping, I awoke late" - this says the same thing twice.
    "Oversleeping, I awoke late and missed my train - it sounds as though these two (or three) actions are all occurring simultaneously.o_O
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Sorry, maybe I didn't read carefully enough.

    I thought you gave this the bennymix seal of approval and stated that it was more natural than "Having overslept, I missed my train":

    benny's sentence - "Oversleeping, I awoke late and missed my train. :tick:"

    In the situation that's being described I don't agree that we should be trying to show simultaneity. Surely missing the train would have happened an hour or so later, and it isn't comparable to stumbling over the dog. Or maybe I'm just not getting your point.:(
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thank you very much, bennymix and Velisarius!
    This participle conveys simultaneity
    I get it, thanks.
    "Oversleeping, I awoke late" - this says the same thing twice.
    I thought about this, I think I understand this as stylistic device, to say the same thing twice, but expressed differently. It sounds better somehow than expressing the simultaneity with 'Oversleeping, I missed my train'. Don't know why, maybe because the latter sounds like 'while I was sleeping, I missed my train'.
    Thanks!
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't agree with benny's suggestion of using the present participle.

    "Oversleeping, I awoke late" - this says the same thing twice.
    "Oversleeping, I awoke late and missed my train - it sounds as though these two (or three) actions are all occurring simultaneously.o_O
    I agree with all velisarius' comments, perhaps because I too am a BE speaker. If we wrote "Oversleeping as usual, I missed the train (yet again)", I would be a little less concerned about the present participle.

    I echo the advice to avoid the participles and use a clause with a finite verb instead unless there is some very good reason to justify the participle use.
    There's not that much difference these days between good written and good spoken English. Use of the participle can sound very stilted and 'officialese', like police reports. eg " Having ascertained that the vehicle was unoccupied, I proceeded to interrogate the bystanders."
     
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