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I'm wondering about the use of tenses in the following sentence. To me this should have been past perefect.

I was led by the county's envoy to the meadow where we found prisoners *already beaten up**having already been beaten up*/being beaten up, laying on the ground. [...] It was said they were mainly Jews."

Which form is the best? Thank you.

  • "...already beaten up laying on the ground..." seems good. – user73373 Jul 18 '15 at 14:43
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What you're actually looking for here is an adjective for the state of being beaten up.

When you found the prisoners, they were in a 'beaten up' state.

Although there are numerous ways to write this, probably the most concise would be to replace the clause of confusing tense with the adjective battered or a synonym thereof.

I was led by the county's envoy to the meadow where we found battered prisoners lying on the ground. [...] It was said they were mainly Jews."

If you wish to further specify the context, you may use

I was led by the county's envoy to the meadow where we found several / many / # battered prisoners lying on the ground. [...] It was said they were mainly Jews."

or

I was led by the county's envoy to the meadow where we found (optional adjective of quantity) prisoners, severely battered and lying on the ground. [...] It was said they were mainly Jews."

It is also important to note that the correct term for their horizontal state on the ground is lying, not laying.

Other alternatives to battered include but are not limited to beaten, maimed, abused, and tortured. There are many adjectives which might apply in this particular context.

Hope this helps!

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"being beaten up" has a completely different meaning from the other two. So let's strike that off.

"having already been beaten up" is actually the same as "already beaten up" when you consider the tense. Usage-wise, "already beaten up" seems to convey finality of the statement, while "having already been beaten up" seems to imply another action that will follow it.

So for your sentence, "already beaten up" is the best choice.

  • There is absolutely nothing "not strictly correct" about already beaten up. – Colin Fine Jul 19 '15 at 22:47
  • @ColinFine Oh, thanks man. I was wondering what looked wrong to me. I'll edit it to what I had originally thought, but somehow lost while writing... :P – user129823 Jul 19 '15 at 22:50

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