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After ______ MA Economics he joined the London School of Economics.

I am confused about using "passing" or "having passed"?

*Edit - I did some research and from what I gathered, the answer is "passing" because using "having passed" with "after" will bring a sense of redundancy. The "having passed" form of the verb has the "after" inherent in it.

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In your test the correct answer is, probably, passing. That's what Murphy's English Grammar says:

When one action happens before another action, we use having (done) for the first action:

Having finished her work, she went home.

You can also say after -ing:

After finishing her work, she went home.

So, when there is the word after, it is more "right" to use [verb]-ing. But note that after having (done) occurs in practical usage. These sentences I've found on Google News:

After having done this, he returned to the scene

A bus driver almost choked to death after having found a coil in his two chicken breasts

Khan thought he had the fight with Mayweather wrapped up after having won a poll on the website.

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Passing is the correct answer. Having past is the present perfect form meaning that the event is still going on; whereas here, he first passed MA Economics and then joined that particular school.

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  • Since when do we call HAVE + verb+ED present continuous? Looks like a perfective form to me. (0: Feb 28 '14 at 16:27
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    @CopperKettle You're right. I meant to say present perfect.
    – Gela Mp
    Feb 28 '14 at 16:30
  • Maybe I'm wrong. I've read a bit just now and found out that the first part of the sentence looks like a "participial phrase". Not sure what the tense of that may be and whether it has a tense as such. Seems to be a 'participial clause using past participle': en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-finite_clause Feb 28 '14 at 16:45
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To me, the meaning of after finishing and after having finished is very close. I would say the latter adds the connotation that finishing MA Economics is a long process. I would also say that the latter is less common in colloquial conversations.

After comparing some of the occurrences linked by Google's n-gram viewer, I see both cases used in similar contexts:

  • "he left the country after having completed his education"

  • "after completing his education he settled in his native town"

There is, though, a clear trend to use the shorter and simpler version after finishing.

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