Passive simple gerund

  1. She enjoys being photographed .

  2. Her baby loves being held .

  3. I hate being lied to.

  4. She denied being invited.


My questions:
Can or should the simple gerund passive refer to the same time as the verb in the main clause?


Can it also refer to an earlier event mentioned by the verb in the main clause?


Do I need to use having to refer to a time before the verb in main clause?

For example, She enjoys is written in the present tense, does the second clause, being photographed, refer to the present or the past?

I want to how to use the 'passive simple' gerund to refer to the past, present, and future.

  • It is time-independent. I hate being lied to = I hate being lied to in the past, in the present, and in the future. If it's meant otherwise, it will be qualified - "I used to hate being lied to, but now I'm OK with it"
    – John Feltz
    Oct 29, 2016 at 1:57
  • You know the answer is given right on the page you refer to, which includes the sentences The simple gerund can refer to the same time as that of the verb in the main clause and The simple gerund can also refer to a time before that of the verb in the main clause and gives examples of both uses. Oct 29, 2016 at 2:01
  • @Alan Carmack But I'm talking about 'passive simple gerund' which is passive of simple gerund. I want to how to use 'passive simple' gerund to refer to past present and future.
    – yubraj
    Oct 29, 2016 at 4:24
  • If the example I used conveys exactly what you are asking- hooray!! ;) If, instead, I'm mistaken sob (sad face), you'll have to either fix or delete it. Hope the edit helped.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 29, 2016 at 7:04
  • My pleasure, I'm sorry that no one has posted an answer.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 30, 2016 at 2:10

1 Answer 1


Here's my attempt to help.

In the first example, the sentence

She enjoys being photographed

tells us that the person enjoys having her photo taken.

What does this sentence mean? It means whenever someone takes a picture of her, she is pleased, and does not feel embarrassed or bored by this simple activity. She doesn't mind posing in front of the camera. In fact, she likes to have her photo taken.

This exemplifies the use of the present simple tense, the present simple is used to convey something which is either a fact, or an action that is habitual. Instead, if she regularly uploaded images that she took of herself, we might say:

She enjoys taking selfies

With verbs of preferences, e.g. like, love, enjoy, don't mind, etc. it is common to use the present simple tense. We do not normally say

She is enjoying being photographed

While the construction is not forbidden, it is acceptable in speech and in most English dialects, it seems to have a slightly different meaning from the original; here the subject is currently experiencing enjoyment while someone is taking two or more photos of her. The subject could be a child who is happy and excited that she is photographed on her birthday.

If we wanted to refer to this ‘enjoyment’ in the Past Simple tense we would say

She enjoyed having her photo taken (at the party).
She enjoyed being photographed

to express future meaning we might say

She is going to enjoy having her photo taken
She is going to enjoy being photographed
She will enjoy having her photo taken
She will enjoy being photographed.

One last point, although it is grammatical to use either the infinitive or the gerund after the verb like

She likes to be photographed
She likes being photographed

The same is not true for the verb enjoy, it is best to avoid the infinitive after the verb enjoy.

She enjoys to be photographed. NO

For more insight, read Colin Fine's answer in

Why is "like to swim" possible, but "enjoying to swim" is not?

and Stoney B's answer in: "I end up studying English" vs. "I end up to study English" and in Two consecutive gerunds? -ing -ing?

  • I upvoted this answer!
    – yubraj
    Oct 30, 2016 at 13:36
  • @yubrajsharma well thanks. I'm sure someone will find a fault in it, somewhere. But I tried my best. I do hope this has helped you.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 30, 2016 at 13:37

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