The two women who were watching the hockey were on the other touchline, directly opposite where Cecilia, with Daisy and Amanda was watching it, too, since attendance at home matches was compulsory. Cecilia remembered the women being on the touch line before, because when the hockey ended they'd passed close to where she, Daisy and Amanda were looking for Amanda's watch, which had slipped from her wrist without her noticing.

Did she remember the women being at the sam place but in a previous time or did she remembered them on a different place in the past? ** Is the word "being" describing the presence of the women on the touchline in present time or past time ? **

  • 1
    There should be a comma after the first "Amanda". Jan 8, 2014 at 17:10
  • Cecelia remembers seeing the women at the same place but in a previous time. "Before" simply means sometime earlier. It doesn't have to be followed by a specific time. For example, I could say, "I've been here before" without saying when it was.
    – Julia
    Jan 9, 2014 at 5:05
  • "Being" in this context refers to the past. Cecelia remembers that, at some time in the past, the two women were there on the other touchline, and she is recognizing them again (now) from that other time. In this work of fiction, the writer is being informal and writing from a young woman's point of view, even though it's not first-person.
    – Julia
    Jan 9, 2014 at 5:10

1 Answer 1


I take it that your question refers to this section:

Cecilia remembered the women being on the touch line before, because ...

In this the bold-faced part is an embedded non-finite clause which acts as the object of the matrix verb remembered. This clause represents an ‘underlying’ finite clause:

The women were on the touch line before.

In this clause before is an adverb meaning “at an earlier time”. What Cecilia remembers now is where the women were at an earlier time—specifically, at the time when the women passed Cecilia and her friends as the latter were looking for Amanda's watch. This is confusing, because it implies that at that time the women were on the same touch line as Cecilia and her friends, rather than the opposite touch line. The story is behind a paywall, but this passage from a review seems to explain the reference:

At one game, two older women are watching—Cecilia noticed them at one previous game as well. She can’t figure out who they are—they’re not former students, they’re not for the other team, their presence is weird. And at that game they almost interact when Cecilia drops her watch and the women narrowly avoid stepping on it, but really there is no connection. —I Just Read About That

This isn’t entirely clear either, but it seems that Cecilia is remembering having seen the women at a previous game—they had passed the girls after that game.

The author has chosen to subordinate the clause by casting the verb into the non-finite -ing form traditionally called a ‘gerund’. This might also have been expressed with a finite that clause or even a non-finite to-infinitive clause:

Cecilia remembered that the women were on the touch line before ... Cecilia remembered the women to have been on the touch line before ...

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