Here is a question for the GMAT exam:

Having been named for a mythological nymph who cared for the infant Jupiter, the asteroid named Ida in the middle of the belt of asteroids that orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, was discovered in 1884

For those of you unfamiliar with the test, basically you are given a short statement with some underlined part. You have to decide if you keep the underlined part as is (option A) or if you substitute it with one out of 4 options (options B,C,D,E).

Here the whole statement is underlined

Now in the solution, it says that the "keep it" option (option A) is wrong because

Opening with a past perfect passive verb, Having been named, this version of the sentene illogically suggests that being named for a mythological nymph preceded the discovery of Ida

My question is: why "Having been named" is a past perfect passive? The past perfect (active) should be formed by: Subject + had + past participle And thus the passive one: Subject + had + been + past participle

So what tense is Having been named really if it is not a past perfect passive?

  • It's a perfect passive, but it's a participial (and therefore untensed) perfect passive. Only constructions with finite verbs may be described as present or past perfect passive. It's also an improperly used perfect, since the perfect entails that it was named before it was discovered! May 27, 2017 at 20:56

2 Answers 2


According to the British Council the pattern having been + past participle is not the past perfect passive but a perfect participle which indeed indicates the order of events:

If we wish to emphasise that one action was before another then we can use a perfect participle (having + past participle):

Having won the match, Susan jumped for joy.

Having been told the bad news, Susan sat down and cried.

This said, the test is correct, that is, the perfect participle is improperly used. In terms of grammar this source says that it's called perfect participle, and of course, in your case, passive.

  • 1
    Your reply answer the question of what tense it is and provides an example of perfect participle both in active and passive voice. So I am accepting it! May 28, 2017 at 9:41

First off, the sentence is poorly constructed and possibly intentionally confusing. The answer given is also not correct -- I would rather say that "having been named" implies a logical causality between the two events, that the naming is the reason for the discovery, or in some other way the two are causally linked. For example:

Having been bought many years ago, the car's paint was starting to peel.

Here the reason the paint is peeling is because the car is old.

I'm also a little unclear what tense "having been named" is, but it certainly wouldn't be past perfect passive, which I think looks something like:

The shoes had been bought at the store.

If I had to take a guess, I'd call it a gerund phrase which uses the present perfect passive.

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