In examples (1) and (2), the verb escaped is the past participle form, and the auxiliary 'have' seems to have been omitted before 'escaped'. Specifically, I think 'having' and 'he has' are omitted in (1) and (2), respectively.

(1) Now, escaped from the New York tumult, Anthony has an opportunity to show his priorities have shifted. (From an American news article "Carmelo’s choice and the potential Thunder superpower")

(2) Hanako’s anguished sister, Reiko (Kae Alexander), remains in Japan with the girls’ neat, distressed mother (Rosalind Chao) and with Tetsuo, the boy next door – played by Leo Wan with cartoon expressiveness, as though escaped from a manga comic. (From a Guardian article "The week in theatre: Macbeth; The Great Wave; The Plough and the Stars; Agnes Colander – review")

Are (1) and (2) grammatical and natural English?

Normally, you cannot omit the auxiliary 'have' like this. For example, omitting 'have' in (3) renders it ungrammatical.

(3) Now, having left political life, he advises Capital Group, the world's largest active fund manager, on important geopolitical issues.

(3') *Now, left political life, he advises Capital Group, the world's largest active fund manager, on important geopolitical issues.

So, if (1) and (2) are fine, how do you know when you can omit the auxiliary 'have' and when you can't?

  • Note that you could say, "Now, departed from political life, he advises Capital Group." Or "fired from" or "retired from". // Your examples 1 and 2 look fine to me -- grammatical and natural, albeit belonging to a special style. Jun 22, 2019 at 3:32

4 Answers 4


I don't see anything wrong with (1) or (2).

To start out with, I'm not sure that it's correct to analyze this construction as involving an omitted having (or any omitted auxiliary). I'm also not sure about whether escaped in your example sentences is a verb inflected into its past participle form, or a departicipial adjective.1

I think that the difference in the behavior of "escaped from the New York tumult" and "left political life" is based on whether the base verb is "unaccusative". Unaccusative verbs are a particular subcategory of intransitive verbs (I kind of hate the word "unaccusative" because I can never remember which term corresponds to which category of verbs). The past participle forms of unaccusative verbs can (with some exceptions) be used in this kind of construction without a form of the auxiliary have.

Escape is an unaccusative verb2, but I don't think leave is. For one thing, leave is transitive in your example sentence. But even when leave is intransitive, I think the behavior of its past participle form in other context indicates that it's not an unaccusative verb. It's completely impossible to say something like "a left manager" to mean "a manager who has left". But we can say "an escaped prisoner", just as we can say "a fallen leaf".

Other examples of verbs that can be used this way and are unaccusative

The example departed, mentioned by aparente001 in a comment, is also unaccusative. Fallen can also be used in this kind of construction.

I don't think died can be used this way, but I would say that would be because the adjective dead is used instead.

Passive forms can also be used this way

Mari-Lou A left a comment that reminded me that passive past-participle forms from transitive verbs can also be used this way, such as defeated:

  • Now defeated and desperate, Daisy turned to King George V.

    (p. 276, Daisy, Princess of Pless, 1873-1943: A Discovery, by W. John Koch)

    I realize that this doesn't have a comma after the now, unlike your example, but I don't think that matters.

  • Marshal frowned, as though defeated by the complexity of the words.

    (The Wolf at the Door, by Graham Shelby)

If there is any "omitted" auxiliary in these sentences, it would presumably be "being" (or possibly "having been") rather than "having".

I think the alleged omission of forms of be according to "whiz-deletion" is also relevant, although it's a slightly different context (I don't see any way of fitting an implicit wh- element into the sentences above, although we could in a sentence like "Now Daisy, [who was] defeated and desperate, turned to King George V").

How to know whether a verb is unaccusative?

Wikipedia says that unaccusative verbs can be distinguished by the semantic criterion of whether the subject is an agent (supposedly, a verb is unaccusative if the subject is not an agent), but I don't know how far this goes. It seems to me that "escaped" and "departed" can be used as in your sentence regardless of whether their subject is the semantic agent of the escape or the departure.

  1. Adjectives can be used after "as though" (e.g. "as though innocent of all wrongdoing") and I think they can also be used in contexts like the first sentence (I don't know exactly what that construction is called; some kind of subordinate clause I guess). Here's a parallel example from Google Books where the adjective ready is used in the same position as the word escaped in your sentence:

    He sums up the catalogue of the wrongs his brother has suffered, and now, ready for action, he cries out : [...]

    ("A Vindication of Titus Andronicus", Shakespeariana, Volume 1, p. 203)

  2. p, 14, "Acquisition of Unaccusativity", by Eugenia Birger, April 2008

  • Would the verb dress be an unaccusative verb in: "Now, dressed to the nines, she has time to make a few calls..." ?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 24, 2019 at 6:25
  • 2
    @Mari-LouA: Maybe. I think it could be passive instead (which behaves similarly), since I'd be much more likely to say "She is dressed to the nines" than "She dresses to the nines".
    – herisson
    Jun 24, 2019 at 6:26
  • Passive as in "Now [that she is] dressed to the nines, she has time..." ?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 24, 2019 at 6:30
  • @Mari-LouA: If we use an analysis like the one in the original post, I think the "omitted" element could be identified as "being" ("Now, [being] dressed to the nines, she has time to make a few calls...") although I'm not sure how natural it sounds to include it in that exact context.
    – herisson
    Jun 24, 2019 at 6:34
  • 1
    As to the question, it seems to me, at first glance, that past participles followed by a direct object must be preceded by having, whereas those followed by a prepositional phrase need not be. By this token, the first of the OP's example sentences could be rewritten: Now, having escaped the New York tumult, Anthony....
    – Shoe
    Jun 28, 2019 at 15:23

Foley, M. & Hall, D. (2014). MyGrammarLab Intermediate B1/B2 With Key. Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson Longman

1 Participle clauses

Participle clauses give more information about a noun. We use the -ed or –ing form of the verb. Participle clauses don’t have a subject because their subject is the noun/pronoun in the main clause:
participle clause subject

Written in 1961, ‘Catch-22’ is a novel about a young American soldier, John Yossarian.
subject participle clause

In the middle of World War Two, he is sent to fight in Italy, leaving his friends and family behind.

In written English we often put participle clauses in front of the main clause. We use a comma to separate the two clauses. Participle clauses are common in written English because they let us give a lot of information in a single sentence.

Participle clauses of reason, result, time, etc.

Because he’s a student he can get a discount on rail travel.
Being a student, he can get a discount on rail travel.
A snowstorm covered the motorway. (The result was that dozens of drivers were trapped in their cars.)
A snowstorm covered the motorway, trapping dozens of drivers in their cars.
If you give it enough water and sunlight, the plant will grow to three metres.
Given enough water and sunlight, the plant will grow to three metres.
time/ sequence
As I walked into the room I noticed the flowers by the window.
Walking into the room, I noticed the flowers by the window.

There is also a perfect form, having + past participle, which we can use to talk about an action that happened earlier:
Having paid the entrance fee, we walked into the museum.
(= After we had paid the entrance fee, we walked into the museum.)

Forms for active and passive meanings.

In participle clauses the -ing form has an active meaning:
The bank manager opened the safe and noticed something strange inside. (active verb)
➞ Opening the safe, the bank manager noticed something strange inside.
The -ed form has a passive meaning:
The flood victim stood on the roof. He was trapped by the rising water. (passive verb)
➞ The flood victim stood on the roof, trapped by the rising water.


I think we might be mixing up several concepts. I will analyse your examples from a relative clause point of view; for another point of view this won't apply and you'll have to read sumelic answer.
FOCUSING ON REDUCED RELATIVE CLAUSES To be able to do this reduction, the subject of the reduced relative clause and the main sentence must be the same.

The key steps are:
+ identifying active or passive meaning;
+ identifying the order of the actions;
+ identifying the subject;
+ identifying whether we're talking about a reason, a cause, a condition or a time or sequence.

In example (1):
Which meaning has the verb we’re talking about? ACTIVE
+ Does he first escape from the NY tumult and then he goes on to do other things? If the answer is yes, then you need to include HAVING.
I wouldn't go for the choice of words in the example (1). I would have written a reduced relative clause.

Let's remind ourselves that we do not have to mix that up with the action having occurred before another action (in this case we would have to use a *perfect* form of the reduced relative clause, that is, HAVING + PAST PARTICIPLE, which, by the way, can only be used with active meaning verbs).
In (2) we cannot apply the reduced relative clause and you'll have to take it as an adjective, as sumelic suggests.

As for (3), we cannot omit having in (3) because he leaves the political life and then he goes on private, to advise Capital Group

(3') *Now, left political life, he advises Capital Group, the world's largest active fund manager, on important geopolitical issues.

In the event that you wouldn’t like to use a perfect form, and go directly with a –ED (past participle) or –ING (gerund participle) , you’d have to think about whether the reduced relative clause is giving a reason, a result, a time/sequence or a condition.

Also, you’ll have to think whether the meaning of the verb is active or passive.

(3') He began to advice Capital Group, the world's largest active fund manager, on important geopolitical issues, leaving his former political party in shambles.

(3') Backed properly, the Capital Group could become the world's largest active fund manager on important geopolitical issues.

The second example is a condition and the verb has a PASSIVE meaning, that’s why we need a PAST participle.


The comment is quite correct. Another such word is abandoned. Having abandoned New York he could not live without the word having.

You have a bad example using left as it has (at least) two meanings. An ambiguity pops up when you leave having off of left. It is no longer a verb but a preposition.

Escaped is also a special word that conjures up images of a struggle to gain freedom. It needs little modification to place it in time past or past perfect.

You are right though, that leaving having or have off of such actions is peculiar if not wrong.

  • So how do you know when you can omit the auxiliary 'have' and when you can't?
    – JK2
    Jun 23, 2019 at 3:10

This is not a scholarly answer. However, the answer is partly that you can’t. But there is a general guide, which is that if a verb is transitive, then the past form may be used as an active participle. ‘Escaped’ is a case in point. We are all familiar with ‘escaped’ tigers or convicts, for example.

Strictly, ‘escape’ can be used transitively with, as its object, the thing or circumstance from which you escape, something students of ancient Greek or Latin might call an ‘internal accusative’. So prisoners can ‘escape prison’. But I do not think you could find any sentence like

This prison has been escaped far too often.

There are other words for which this works. ‘go’ is one.

Gone in a flash, he was searched for in every corner of the house, but in vain.

However, this does not always work. ‘Wander’ is intransitive, but ‘wandered’ for ‘having wandered’ doesn’t work. Why? Well, you try a sensible context for it. Whereas ‘lost’ can be either a passive or an active participle.

Lost and alone, he sat on a rock and wept.

The question “Who lost him? would be inept. So, I fear, it boils down to usage.

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