"My mother shouted at me for not having offered water."

"My mother shouted at me for not having been offered water."

Are both the above sentences grammatically correct? What do they mean?


1 Answer 1


Are they grammatically correct? Sure they are, but so is this sentence:

The borogoves dance on the fathoming head of an underground pin for exercise and noodles.

(Just because a sentence is grammatically correct doesn't mean it makes sense. But let's see what we can do with your sentences.)

My mother shouted at me...

I'm assuming you know what that means.


The word for can mean because. We're about to be informed about why your mother was shouting.

...not having offered water.

It sounds like you should have been more polite, and offered someone (a guest, perhaps?) a glass of water, so your mother was upset with you, and she yelled at you. But the sentence probably isn't as clear as it could be, even if it's "grammatically correct."

...not having been offered water.

The meaning is different here, and the shift in meaning makes the sentence even more confusing. This time, somebody didn't offer you water, so your mother yelled at you. Maybe she coached you ahead of time to look thirsty – to lick your lips or something – in hopes that someone would offer you water. But, because you didn't look pitiful enough, you were offered nothing, so now she's yelling at you.

All that is just a guess at what it could mean. I'm just trying to figure out some kind of sensible meaning. But there's no "grammatical" error.

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