I am having trouble with a practice exam question. Here is the text from the question:

The good fortune of (my being/my having been?) your student in my younger days has helped me greatly in my life.

Which is the correct way to say the above sentence? Do I need to use just my being or I need to use my having been?

  • In my opinion here 'being' is a sort of noun (i.e. gerund) which in turn is an object of 'my'. So, I would say that the correct answer is 'my being'.
    – Karolini
    Sep 21, 2017 at 16:53
  • I agree with Karolini, but the problem with this question is that a native English speaker wouldn't use "my" in this sentence, regardless of the verb tense. "Being your student...has helped me greatly" and "Having been your student has helped me" both sounds fine, if wordy, to me.
    – mamster
    Oct 21, 2017 at 21:37

1 Answer 1


I believe that the correct answer would be my having been. The reason for this is that later in the sentence, the author indicates that being a student "has helped me." In order to indicate clearly that being a student occurred before it offered help to the author, you need to use the perfect tense, rather than the imperfect.

see here for reference: http://penandthepad.com/differences-between-past-imperfect-tense-8794443.html

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