I've been adviced to think Ing form as Timeless and It implies the meaning in a sentence depending on the context.

I have read in The forms of the gerund (Grammaring) as follows:

The simple gerund can refer to the same time as that of the verb in the main clause

The simple gerund can also refer to a time before that of the verb in the main clause

So, I've found two sentences which are the words from @stoneyB. In his answer:

Have+object+past participle usage.

Could you tell which form of ing form it is in these sentences(I think they are in passive simple gerund) :

  1. The minister underwent the experience of eggs being thrown at him. 

  2. You have undergone the experience of its being explained.

It seems in both of these sentences, the passive gerund being+past participle is present, Isn't it ? But what about the time reference that "ing form" refers to here in these sentences, to the same time as the main verb, before the main verb or what Implication or meaning the ing-form here refers to ?

  • 3
    Consider: you have undergone the experience of "a haircut" and "of hair cutting". Think of the gerund as a noun. It does not assert any particular time but adapts, just as the noun does, to whatever time is established by the finite verb: You are undergoing the experience of "a haircut" and "of hair cutting" or You will undergo the experience....
    – TimR
    Nov 20, 2016 at 21:30

3 Answers 3


As TRomano says, the "being" part of the sentence tells us nothing about the time frame. "Undergone" or "underwent" or "experienced" are all past-tense verbs, so these tell us when the experience happened.

Another example:

They enjoy fishing before dawn

They enjoyed fishing before dawn.

They will enjoy fishing before dawn.

In all of these "fishing before dawn" is just an activity. It's the verb "enjoy" that tells us the time frame of the activity.

Side note: "Underwent/undergone the experience" is a little wordy. "Experienced" is usually enough:

The minister experienced eggs being thrown at him.

  • Thanks. What If I removed 'being' from the sentence? Would it be wrong?
    – yubraj
    Jan 3, 2017 at 5:06
  • @yubrajsharma Yes, that would actually be better although. "The minister experienced eggs thrown at him" is still not how most people would say it. "The minister had eggs thrown at him" is more natural, or just "Someone threw eggs at the minister."
    – Andrew
    Jan 3, 2017 at 5:17
  • Well, you said most people wouldn't say so. But my question'would it be wrong if we used It ? Would It be grammatically wrong and It wouldn't make sense ?
    – yubraj
    Jan 3, 2017 at 5:40
  • @yubrajsharma I can't really answer the question whether grammatical but unnatural English is right or wrong.
    – Andrew
    Jan 3, 2017 at 13:43

1) The minister underwent the experience of eggs being thrown at him. Being thrown at him is a passive participle clause and not a gerund phrase. It means eggs that were thrown at him by someone. The time of the participle clause depends on the context. Here, the minister underwent the experience, so it is a past experience of throwing eggs at him. It happened and finished. 2) You have undergone the experience of it being explained. It is quite ambiguous for me. You can check this link for more information. https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/66/whats-the-difference-between-a-gerund-and-a-participle.


 past participle usesGerund uses From practical grammar book by Thomson

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