"It has been like 5,000 little detective stories — trying to find out which author or article Darwin noted having — it is a joy to strike gold and find the exact source he was referring to," van Wyhe said.

“which author or article Darwin noted having”

If this sentence is a clause, ”noted” must be a predicate. So what is the role of “having” in this clause?

  • You don't say what they are talking about, but I see that Dr van Wyhe is an expert on Charles Darwin. Even the most intelligent people don't always talk in complete grammatical sentences. Perhaps he meant to say "Darwin noted having seen' or 'read' but for some reason left out a word and went on to his next thought. Commented Jun 27 at 8:19
  • I attach the address to here :link Commented Jun 27 at 11:26
  • 2
    This link should have been provided in the question. With its help I can supply an answer. Commented Jun 27 at 12:48

2 Answers 2


"Having" is an -ing participle type of non-finite verb phrase, functioning as the object/complement of the finite verb "noted".

  • Is there a subject+predicate+complement type of basic sentence pattern, or is the basic sentence pattern just subject+predicate, and then the complement is just simply added on? Commented Jun 27 at 11:22
  • Yes, subject + verb + complement is a basic sentence pattern. The commonest type of complement is a noun/noun phrase, which is referred to as an object. But you can have verb phrase complements, namely finite ("Darwin noted that he had") and non-finite ("Darwin noted to have" and "Darwin noted having"). A complement is an integral part of the phrase and not just an "add on". Also, the complete "predicate" includes the verb and everything to it's right, including objects/complements and modifiers.
    – ishtar
    Commented Jun 27 at 13:01

I see from the link you provided that an earlier paragraph says "Darwin used abbreviated or vague ways to refer to journals and pamphlets in his collection", so Dr van Wyhe probably means "which author or article Darwin made a note that he had in his collection".

  • thxxxxxxx a lot! Commented Jun 28 at 3:54

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