Show implied specific timing using a gerund

lingkky

Senior Member
chinese
Below is my own sentence.

"There was a century in which people owning a bicycle each were considered rich".(past event)

I am confused as some people said that the gerund structure (people owning a bicycle) can only be applied for the present event and would be wrong if it is used to describe a past event. Some people said that there is nothing wrong and it can be used to describe a past event.

I don't know which one should I follow.
Can someone tell me whether the sentence above works when "people owning a bicycle each " is used to describe a past event.
 
Last edited:
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I don't know how to advise you in technical terms, but I DO know that the sentence you have written sounds clumsy and improbable to my ears.
    I would write that idea in this way: In the 19thC anyone who owned their own bicycle would have been considered rich.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I don't think anyone's said that the ing-form always implies the present. It has no tense. It is simultaneous with some other verb that has tense, and that tense tells you the time:

    People owning a bicycle are not considered rich.
    = Today, people owning a bicycle are not considered rich.
    People owning a bicycle were considered rich.
    = In those days, people owning a bicycle were considered rich.
     

    lingkky

    Senior Member
    chinese
    I don't think anyone's said that the ing-form always implies the present. It has no tense. It is simultaneous with some other verb that has tense, and that tense tells you the time:

    People owning a bicycle are not considered rich.
    = Today, people owning a bicycle are not considered rich.
    People owning a bicycle were considered rich.
    = In those days, people owning a bicycle were considered rich.
    I agree with you.I think you are right. As I see, the answers provided in this forum is not always correct. Some people has misleaded me and taught me the wrong things.
    Thanks for your explanation.
     

    lingkky

    Senior Member
    chinese
    I don't know how to advise you in technical terms, but I DO know that the sentence you have written sounds clumsy and improbable to my ears.
    I would write that idea in this way: In the 19thC anyone who owned their own bicycle would have been considered rich.
    Thanks.
     
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