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I still can't fully understand the usage of past participle. I wonder which one of the following sentences is grammatically correct and if both are correct, what differences would there be.

As he was left unattended with no medical help for hours, John had already been dead when his crew finally found him in the lowest basement.

As he had been left unattended with no medical help for hours, John had already been dead when his crew finally found him in the lowest basement.

Being left unattended with no medical help for hours, John had already been dead when his crew finally found him in the lowest basement.

Having been left unattended with no medical help for hours, John had already been dead when his crew finally found him in the lowest basement.

Thank you!

  • Kettle_hands is correct. I would change the first word from "As" to "Since" but grammatically it works the way you have it if you change "had already been dead" to "was dead." – Sarah Bowman Mar 30 at 3:37
  • The past perfect is wrong. The simple past "was" is correct. – BillJ Mar 30 at 6:50
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Well the larger issue is the second part of the sentence is not correct.

It should read "John was already dead when his crew finally found him in the lowest basement."

You would only use the form "had already been dead" if it was then followed by a time period - eg: "John had already been dead for hours by the time his crew finally found him in the lowest basement."

With that change, all four versions are 'correct', it just comes down to style and readability.

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  • "had been" is past perfect, i.e. an action that is complete. "John had been dead, but isn't dead anymore." It doesn't make sense because most people stay dead after they die. Otherwise, past perfect is OK here. – CJ Dennis Mar 30 at 3:32
  • Thanks for the tip. I'm a huge fan of your poetry, it's an honour to have you weigh in here! – kettle_hands Mar 30 at 3:53
  • @kettle_hands You are right. The simple past "was" is the correct verb, not the past perfect. – BillJ Mar 30 at 6:51

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