In "Me and Cows", I mentioned having ordered "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

(where "Me and Cows" is an essay known to the reader)

Something feels off about this sentence. Is it grammatically correct, and natural sounding?

  • 1
    It is quite natural. Having ordered THGG is a perfect gerund; it's just like I mentioned ordering THGG, but with the ordering explicitly placed before the time of mentioning. It could be paraphrased "I mentioned that I had ordered THGG." – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 25 '15 at 1:42

It is right, although perhaps just a bit informal and awkward (I probably would not have judged it so much if I were just reading in context). having ordered makes an object clause out of a past progressive perfect verb, and skips an implied "I" subject for that clause, so it is a bit complicated and shortcut-y. A more grammatically clear sentence would have been:

I mentioned I had ordered "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

That's clearer, and a nit-picky editor might change it, but the original is legitimate.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.