"once" followed by an adjective or past participle


Senior Member
French France
Hello, everyone,
I am wondering whether the word "once" can be directly followed by an adjective or a past participle.
For example:
  1. Once dead, He won't bother his wife any longer!
  2. Once arrived at the station, they realised the departure of their train had been delayed.
Thank for your help.
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Yes, those are possible, but the first is much more likely than the second.

    In general, if the past participle is acting as an adjective - something the subject undergoes - it can easily follow 'once'. (E.g. Once fallen from the tree, the apples are collected and washed. Once sealed in plastic, the document cannot be tampered with.) However, if the participle refers to something the subject does e.g. Once arrived at the station...) the usage is far less likely and we prefer Once they had arrived at the station...


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    2) Might work better if you omit "once" and use the perfect participle : Having arrived at the station they realised...
    Alternatively: Once at the station they realised...