Having read the report, Hyde breathed a sigh of relief.

I have some questions regarding the part in bold.

  1. I know it takes the role of adjunct, but what is it called? A gerund-participle clause, or a perfect gerund-participle clause?
  2. Is Have still an auxiliary for perfect aspect or is it simply used to show which action happens first?
  3. is Reading the report, Hyde breathed a sigh of relief. grammatical?
  4. If I want to paraphrase the adjunct to a modifier of the subject Hyde, which one is grammatical? I think a is ungrammatical but I don't know why.

a. Hyde having read the report breathed a sigh of relief.

b. Hyde reading the report breathed a sigh of relief.

c. Hyde, reading the report, breathed a sigh of relief.

1 Answer 1


[Having read the report], Hyde breathed a sigh of relief.

It is a gerund-participial clause in adjunct function. More specifically, it's an adjunct of implicated reason, since it gives a reason for the matrix situation.

You could if you wish call it a 'perfect gerund-participial clause', where "have" is the perfect auxiliary.

[Reading the report], Hyde breathed a sigh of relief.

I'd say that this is grammatical. Here, the gerund-participial clause is a supplementary depictive adjunct giving descriptive information about "Hyde". Note that it is interpreted with progressive aspectuality: "Hyde was reading the report".

  • So the perfect aspect of having read the report, serves to remove the progressive aspectuality of reading the report, is that correct? I find it difficult to understand why non-finite clauses can have perfect aspect when functioning as adjuncts and complements, but cannot when functioning as post modifiers. Jan 19, 2021 at 23:58
  • @Gestaltfilter That's not quite true. In, for example, "The amount [being earned by Kim] is surprising", the clause "being earned by Kim" post-modifies "amount" and it has progressive aspectuality", but not progressive aspect, since "being" is the passive auxiliary, not the progressive one.
    – BillJ
    Jan 20, 2021 at 12:32
  • So let me get this straight, being earned by Kim is passive and has a progressive aspectuality; earned by Kim in The amount earned by Kim is surprising is also passive but has a perfect aspectuality. By adding being to earned by Kim we turned a past-participle into a gerund-participle and removed its perfect aspectuality. But we cannot change a gerund-participle in Hyde reading the report to a past-participle or a gerund-participle that has perfect aspectuality, at least not when the gerund-participle is a post modifier. Is this correct? Jan 20, 2021 at 23:49
  • or maybe my interpretation regarding the perfect aspectuality is based on the verb earn and read, in People walking to work everyday..., it seems walking to work everyday demonstrates no progressive but a habitual aspectuality. Jan 21, 2021 at 0:00

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