What construction is used in this sentence?

I was having some photos taken.

  • As it is, the term that describes it best would probably be "redundant". Did you want to ask about the sentence with one fewer "taken"s? – Acccumulation Mar 29 '18 at 16:10
  • I would like to know do we have Past Continuous Passive voice in the original sentence: ''I was actually just having some photos taken when you guys came.'' ? If not, which tenses are present in this sentence? Thank you very much in advance. – Kate Mar 29 '18 at 16:14

Since the sentence in the question as of this answer is "I was having taken some photos taken." is not a valid sentence due to the two instances of "taken", I will address the sentence presented in the comments: "I was actually just having some photos taken when you guys came." This has two verb phrases: "was having taken" and "came". The first is past continuous passive causative: "was" is past tense of "be", "having" is the present participle of the causative "have", and "taken" is the past participle of "take". "Came" is just simple past.

  • The construction is interesting. The standard grammar of sentences is not designed for describing an agent acting through a third party. The English solution is use ‘have’ causatively with a passive participle. French goes about it another way: by using ‘faire’ with the active infinitive: ‘je faisais prendre quelques photographes’. Italian has ‘stavo facendo dipingere delle fotografie’ (the same). German goes the same way as English (or, more probably, vice versa). It might be more precise to call this a ‘third party’ usage of ‘have’. – Tuffy Mar 29 '18 at 17:19

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