Are these gerund forms correct / in use?

  1. John's having been late..
  2. There being people at the hotel..
  3. There having been people at the hotel..
  4. People having had cars..

I have no idea how to use these forms in sentences.That's why I couldn't provide perfect examples.(sorry for that)

1 Answer 1


Your examples are all grammatically sound gerund clauses. They may be employed in a variety of ways:

As a Subject NP: John's having been late caused us many problems.
As an Object NP: The owners enjoy there being people at the hotel.
As a 'supplemental' Absolute Clause: There having been people at the hotel, the owners suffered no loss.
As the object of a preposition: The taxi drivers were greatly annoyed at people having had cars.

Your last example can also be interpreted as a noun plus a modifying participle phrase:

People having had cars were invited to post photographs of them.

  • Thanks for your answer! and I have small problem.When we use a subject before the gerund ,Does it sound unnatural? (e.g:1.people being searched by customs officers is unpleasant. 2.People having found money was a good thing..3.Cigarettes being smoked are bad for your health)
    – Dinusha
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 11:56
  • 1
    @Dinusha Not at all, BUT: 1) there are different 'feels' in subjects expressed as genitives (their/people's being searched) and as accusatives (them/people being searched). 2) 'Generic' subjects like people are unnecessary: "Being searched ... is unpleasant" doesn't need a subject. 3) Don't use perfect gerunds without a strong reason. 4) Be careful with passives; your 3 is very awkward and would ordinarily be expressed as Smoking cigarettes ..., with you as the implied subject. Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 13:50
  • If I would use a subject before a passive gerund,Must it be 'genitive' or 'accusative'?
    – Dinusha
    Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 14:31
  • 1
    @Dinusha Yes; but in English the accusative (objective) is distinguished only in some personal pronouns (me, him, her, us, them); with all other subjects the accusative is the same as the uninflected form. Commented Oct 23, 2014 at 14:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .