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Please look at the following sentence

  1. Having lived all my life in India, I can speak Hindi very well.

Does this mean I still live in India, or can it also be used if I have just moved from India to USA? If yes, then can it also be used if I have been living in USA for 1 year, when I speak these words?

a. Having known her, I can tell she won't be happy.
b. Knowing her, I can tell she won't be happy.

What's the difference between #a and #b? Can #a ever be used, because it is difficult to 'un-know' someone after knowing them. In light of this should always #b be used ?

Also, if I want to say that I have known her 5 years and still know her, then which form must I employ

c. Having known her for 5 years, I can tell she won't be happy
d. Knowing her for 5 years, I can tell she won't be happy.

Thank you.

  • Also,we'd probably say "Knowing her, she won't be happy", not "I can tell", since "I can tell" means "I can discern {something} from available clues or hints". For example "I could tell she wasn't happy by how she was tapping her foot." "I can tell when he's getting angry; his brow furrows." – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 13 '16 at 19:15
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The present perfect conceptualizes the past thing from the point of view of its relation to the present.

Having eaten pumpkin pie, I know what it tastes like.

My present knowledge is the result of eating pumpkin pie at some point prior to "now". The eating might have taken place 1 second ago or 1 year ago or 10 years ago. I might have some unfinished pie on a plate in front of me. All we know from the tense is that I am someone who ate some pumpkin pie at some time in the past.

With "having lived", if you said this and only this:

Having lived in India, I am familiar with the cuisine.

all that can be concluded from the statement is that you lived in India at some period in the past. It could be last week, or last year, or for the past 20 years. You are a person who can truthfully say "I lived in India". You might live there still.

Now, let's see if we complicate things by adding "all my life".

Having lived in India all my life, I am familiar with the cuisine.

All my life does not exclude the present moment; nor does it necessarily include it. You can easily say, as someone who has emigrated to Antarctica, "I lived in India all my life. But now I live here at the South Pole. Aren't the freezing temperatures refreshing?"

So, we cannot conclude from the statement whether you are living in India now, or have moved elsewhere. All we know is that you are a person who can claim to be someone who, at some time in the (recent) past, had been living in India since birth. all my life does not exclude the present but it does guarantee it: a person who had been born in India and who had lived there until very recently, could say "Having lived in India all my life..."

So, yes, you can say "having lived" whether you have moved away, or you still live there.

  • "I lived in India all my life. But now I live here at the South Pole. Aren't the freezing temperatures refreshing?" can this be said even after we have lived in Antarctica for 4 long continuous years as we speak? Also, why shouldn't 'all my life' always include the present moment ? In what sense are you using 'all my life' here? ALSO, please address the #c and #d part of the of the above question. Thanks – Policewala Aug 13 '16 at 14:22
  • "All my life" does not necessarily include the present moment. It does not necessarily exclude it. Unlike absolute time-references such as "yesterday", the meaning of "all my life" is context-dependent. You could even say "I plan to live here all my life" of a place to which you had just moved a week ago. Clearly it does not refer to your life since birth. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 13 '16 at 14:25
  • You other examples of the perfect are no different. Knowing, however, is present. Eating pumpkin pie, I now know what it tastes like. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 13 '16 at 14:25
  • @Policewala Both #c and #d convey that the speaker has known her for five years. The assumption is that this "knowing" is still in progress. To say otherwise, the speaker would have to put the "knowing" explicitly in the past: I knew her for five years, (and) I can tell she won't be happy. – P. E. Dant Aug 13 '16 at 19:27
  • Without any context to the contrary, the phrase Having lived all my life in India does imply that the speaker currently lives in India, since the speaker is clearly still amongst the living. On the other hand, this would tell the reader that the speaker previously lived in India: Having lived all my life in India until recently... – P. E. Dant Aug 13 '16 at 19:36

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