2

Which one is correct here?

1 Having been disturbed, he left the house. OR

Being disturbed, he left the house .

2 Being disturbed by the children, the old man left the park. OR

Having been disturbed by the children, the old man left the park.

  1. Having been deprived of their homes in the recent earthquake they had no other option but to take shelter in a school. OR

    Being deprived of their homes in the recent earthquake they had no other option but to take shelter in a school.

Rule I follow : when we talk about things of past, we use "having been", and for conditions which still exist we use "being". I don't know if it is entirely correct or not. But "being" and "having been" always confuse me. There may be cases when both are correct. So I need more explanation.

Thank you

6
  • 1
    #1 is describing the disturbance as a past occurrence. #2 describes it as a present occurrence.
    – Robusto
    Jan 19, 2018 at 15:34
  • A more fluent solution might be to omit the verb be entirely: "Disturbed by the children, the old man left the park."
    – Rob_Ster
    Jan 19, 2018 at 15:44
  • 1
    There are very few cases where you have to use the past perfect (or, as here, a infinitive or participial construction with an extra have, or having). It is nearly always a stylistic choice, that may make clearer the temporal relationships of events.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 19, 2018 at 16:05
  • I need some more explanation here. Although I know the basic rule behind this, but I always get problem when come across new sentences.
    – starun008
    Jan 19, 2018 at 17:56
  • Duplicates ell.stackexchange.com/q/15364.
    – user167167
    Jan 20, 2023 at 9:43

2 Answers 2

2

To simplify things, consider the more usual way of communicating these ideas, using the proposition "because". Your sentences become:

  1. He left the house because he had been disturbed or because he was disturbed.

  2. (Similar)

  3. They had no other option but to take shelter in a school because they have been deprived of their homes in the recent earthquake or because they were deprived of their homes in the recent earthquake.

Notice that the initial "being" becomes past simple, and the initial "having been" becomes past perfect (had been), since the original form implies causality and the cause is prior to the effect.

The question now becomes: should you use simple or perfect? The simple answer in this case is: you should use the perfect (pun intended) because there is a clear order of events, and a complete state of things that cause other things.

But in practice you can often use past simple instead of past people, and the meaning of the text would be almost identical. In this case the order is established even without using the perfect.

When would you have to use just "being"? When you talk about a present situation. For example:

Being a non-native speaker, I sometime find myself looking for the right way to express my ideas.

1
  • What if I say: Although Ahmad won the motorcycle race he came close to being killed. Could I replace the being with “ having been” . Which is correct ?
    – Genie
    Dec 20, 2020 at 11:16
1

What point do you want to make about the subject of the sentence? In all the examples the situation is "because of x, y did something". If the x was a single event, "having been " is likely to be what you want to say. But if the x you want to write about is some continuing situation, such as the old man disliking children's noise in general, or the family still homeless after the earthquake, "being" would express that more clearly.

2
  • All these sentences seems continuous situation (x condition), after them "y condition" happened. Can you please give some examples where we can clearly identify single even and continuous situation without any ambiguity.
    – starun008
    Jan 27, 2018 at 15:08
  • 2
    Single: "Having been hit by the children's tennis ball, the old man left the park". Continuous: "Wincing, as ever, at the children's screeching, the old man left the park."
    – JeremyC
    Jan 27, 2018 at 22:28

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