Based on the fact that the present perfect participle clause always refer to something that has happened in the past relative to the main clause in the sentence, is it possible to use it in the following sentence?

Having had my lunch, I will come back.

Is such use of the perfect perfect clause permissible when the main clause is in the future tense? Can I say in my given example, "Having had my lunch" is equivalent to saying "After having my lunch/After having had my lunch"?

  • Sorry I can't give a more well reasoned answer, but "Having had my lunch, I will come back" sounds very off/awkward as a native speaker. I don't know if it is technically grammatically correct, but you'd never hear it said that way.
    – Sarah
    Jan 13, 2016 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


By saying,

"Having had my lunch, I will come back,"

you are putting yourself in the middle of the action; that is, now that you have had your lunch, you are ready to go back to your office or workplace (if that is the case in this instance). The phrase "I will come back" implies that you are addressing someone who is already there (perhaps on the phone with you or by text); otherwise, you would say, "Having had my lunch, I will now go back."

EDIT: You can put both in the future by saying,

"Once I have lunch, I will be back," or, "Once I have had lunch, I will come back,"

or, as you also correctly suggested,

"After having my lunch, I will come back."

So, to correct myself, "Having had my lunch" is not exactly equivalent to saying "After having my lunch/After having had my lunch" in your example.

Although this is outside the scope of your question regarding grammar and usage, a native English speaker in casual conversation with a co-worker might simply say,

"I'll be back after lunch. See you then." :-)

  • Thank you for your comment. One point is still not clear. Is it necessary for the action expressed in the present perfect participle clause to be already occurred or can it also occur at some point in the future although prior to the future action in the main clause? If this is the case, how can one remove the ambiguity? Can the same thing be applied to the other variants with the After-clause? Jan 14, 2016 at 13:48
  • @EnglishLearner- Thank you very much for your intelligent and helpful comments and questions, which led me to edit and correct my answer, hopefully removing some of the ambiguity. Jan 14, 2016 at 15:53
  • You are welcome, and thank you very much too for making things clear crystal clear now. I have finally got the answer which I was looking for. Jan 14, 2016 at 16:39

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