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"Being well treated, she returned home even earlier then she had expected"

Does it work or not?" To my mind it's not the case, because the subject is not the same in both part of the sentence. Or, I'm wrong? Can passive voice be used in the reduced adverb clauses?

I would also like to know if I could write it in this way:

"Well treated, she returned home even earlier..."

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    Your sentence would be better as "Having been well treated . . ." – Weather Vane Dec 23 '17 at 21:05
  • One more question, please. Could I write it in this way "Well treated, she returned home..."? – Andrei Dec 23 '17 at 21:26
  • Please ask another question. StackExchange sites are not intended to be an ongoing dialog. – Weather Vane Dec 23 '17 at 21:28
4

Your sentence is grammatical. "Being well-treated" is an introductory participle phrase used as an adjective to describe the subject of the main clause (she).

That being said, it is a little bit difficult to figure out for certain what you actually mean. It's not entirely clear what "being well-treated" would have to do with getting home sooner. If someone said this to me, I would guess that "well-treated" is supposed to mean that she received fast or expedited service, but that's not necessarily what it means, and you might not mean that at all, so it's ambiguous.

I would suggest being more explicit with something like:

Having received expedited service, she was able to return home earlier than she'd expected.

If you want to keep the idea of "well-treated" in there, it is possible with something like:

Having been treated to expedited service, she returned . . .

"Expedited service" sounds just a little stiff, but I can't guess at ways to improve it without more context. Although more context might also make it clear that no causal relationship is implied here at all.

Edit:

When speaking about medical treatment, you would not usually talk about "expedited service," of course. To clarify, there's nothing wrong with introducing a sentence with "being well-treated" or just "well-treated," whether you're talking about customer service or medical treatment.

The problem that causes ambiguity here is the meaning of your main clause, because good treatment doesn't usually imply fast treatment or explain in any way why she got home sooner. However, using a different main clause as an example, both of the following are logical and grammatical!

Being well-treated, she made a full recovery.
Well-treated, she made a full recovery.

Note that this also makes sense:

Well-treated, she made a speedy recovery and was able to return home even earlier than expected.

Now it is implying that the very excellence of the treatment caused her to recover faster, rather than implying there was something fast about the treatment itself.

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  • Thank you very much for such a detailed answer! I meant a medical service and now is laughing a little bit, because I confused everyone here. Of course, it happened just accidentally, because of my bad English. Is the collocation well-treated not used with the such meaning? – Andrei Dec 23 '17 at 22:32
  • @Andrei I'll edit my answer to see if I can clarify this! – joiedevivre Dec 23 '17 at 22:35
  • I agree that your examples are fine, although more the somewhat relaxed grammar found in novels and other creative writing, where it's more about creating an image or feeling than abiding by the rules. Whether you need more depends on the surrounding context -- whether there is enough information that you don't need any added exposition. "Less is more" as they say. – Andrew Dec 24 '17 at 0:52
  • @Andrew Good point. Evaluating the sentence in isolation makes it confusing, but context is everything. – joiedevivre Dec 24 '17 at 1:48
  • @joiedevivre I just realized I wrote four "mores" in the previous comment. I guess more is less. :( – Andrew Dec 24 '17 at 7:10
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The use of a present participle will sound best if simultaneous with the verb of the main clause.

In the sentence:

  • Being well treated, she returned home even earlier then she had expected.

she was treated well before she returned (or decided to return). That's why Weather Vane suggested changing it to:

  • Having been well treated, she returned home even earlier then she had expected.

Notice that the subject in the reduced and in the main clause is the same, which makes the reduced clause an appropriate, non-dangling clause.

However, this present participle sounds better than "being":

  • Feeling well treated, she returned home even earlier then she had expected.

While "being well treated" takes us back to the moment when "she" received that kind treatment, "feeling well treated" can very well refer to her state after being well treated and thus be simultaneous with her returning home earlier than expected.

"well treated" can only stand alone if it is the reduced form of a conditional clause, for example:

  • Well treated, this child will behave very well. (= If well treated, this child...)

Instead, in your sentence the reduced clause containing "well treated" expresses reason, and perhaps also time, not condition. Some other reduced clause might work without a present participle:

  • At ease with her family, she returned home even earlier than she had expected.

I think it is the strong passive meaning of "well treated" that renders the use of a present participle necessary.

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  • Thank you very much for such a detailed answer! I meant a medical service and now is laughing a little bit, because I confused everyone here. Of course, it happened just accidentally, because of my bad English. – Andrei Dec 23 '17 at 22:28
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A grammatical sentence:

Being well-irrigated, the crops thrived even during the dry spell.

P.S. With respect to making clear that this is treatment for illness or injury, you could still use a participle clause:

Receiving prompt|appropriate|round-the-clock|experimental medical treatment, she was able to return home sooner than she had expected.

And if you wanted to use a passive construction:

Being given round-the-clock medical treatment, she was able to return home sooner than she had expected.

The participle clause is understood to present a set of circumstances which pertain to the situation presented in the main clause. Here, the participle clause presents the basis or reason for her being able to return home sooner than she expected.

The participle clause does not have to "attach" to the subject of the main clause:

Rain coming down in torrents, they had to move their picnic indoors.

But it can:

Hearing the good news, he phoned his cousin to congratulate her on her promotion.

Being told the good news, he phoned his cousin to congratulate her on her promotion.

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    Does "well-irrigated" here mean that irrigation was adequate, or the water was from a well, or both? Anyway, what have crops to do with the question? – Weather Vane Dec 23 '17 at 20:59
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    thank you. so, being well-treated would be right in my sentence? – Andrei Dec 23 '17 at 21:02
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    @Andrei, yes, you have understood the example, and your example is grammatical although your example is something of a non-sequitur, since being well-treated is not usually understood to be a reason to leave a place. One would expect "Being poorly treated, she left for home earlier...." – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 23 '17 at 21:58
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    @Andrei Only now do I see what you meant to say (I answered you before you made this clarification). If you refer to some hospital treatment, I think you should say: Having been treated well (not well treated). – Gustavson Dec 23 '17 at 22:15
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    @WeatherVane It's perfect acceptable and common to use the present participle in participle phrases, with a main clause in the past tense. The main clause dictates the tense. The participle phrase is an adjective or adverb, so it is tenseless. – joiedevivre Dec 23 '17 at 22:32

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