Here is an example sentence from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/elation

There's a sense of elation at having completed a race of such length.

Is the part of this sentence “at having completed a race” a gerund working as noun?

Can't I just say “There's a sense of elation at completing a race of such length”?


The pattern is known as a perfect participle. It indicates a completed action. So, you use it if you want to express(or emphasize) that the action is completed. And yes, you are right "having completed.." is a gerund clause.

You also use this pattern if you wish to emphasize that one action is before another. Some examples are here

" There's a sense of elation at completing a race of such length" is OK, but you only tell the existence of the sense at completing the race, and you do not emphasize the accomplishment.

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