What is the difference between past participle + ing and present perfect + ing? For an example: If you started playing the game, you should have noticed the issue. Vs If you have started playing the game, you should have noticed the issue.


The word "playing" in those examples is actually a gerund, the direct object of "started" (as @BillJ points out, "started" is a catenative verb).

The difference in conjugation is between the simple past and present perfect tense of "started." Past tense ("if you started") implies an action that took place and completed at some point in the past.

On the other hand, present perfect tense ("if you have started") refers to a past action that continues to the present or has a connection to the present (PEG). In this instance, saying that you "have started the game" would imply that you are still playing the game.

  • I disagree. "Start" is a catenative verb, and "playing the game" is not its Od but its catenative complement. Objects are virtually always noun phrases, but "playing" is a verb with "the game" as its Od. – BillJ May 24 at 8:53
  • It is a catenative verb, yes, but the direct object is a NP headed by a verbal (gerund or to-infinitive). – geekahedron May 24 at 13:07
  • "Playing the game" is a clause, not an NP. The head is "playing", the Od is "the game", and the semantic (understood) subject is "you". – BillJ May 25 at 6:35
  • "You started [you] playing the game"? What if I said instead, "you started to play the game"? Or "you like playing the game"? Or simply "you started the game"? – geekahedron May 25 at 10:41
  • Most non-finite clauses have no overt subject, but we understand them as though they have a subject. The obvious 'understood' subject of "playing " is "you", The same applies to the infinitival "to play the game". – BillJ May 25 at 11:08

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