The Perfect Participle (active)

The perfect participle is a compound verb form consisting of an auxiliary (in the -ing form) and a verb.

For example:
  • Having studied for the exam, Mike went to play football.

Using the perfect participle emphasizes that the first action was completed before the second action started. In the above example, the action of studying was before the action of going to play football.

It is sometimes correct (and more natural) to use the present participle in such sentences:

So, instead of writing:

  • Having tied one end of the rope to the wardrobe, Mike threw the other end out of the window.
We would write:
  • Tying one end of the rope to the wardrobe, Mike threw the other end out of the window.

To avoid confusion, it is often better to use the perfect participle rather than the present participle.

  • Reading the instructions, he snatched up the fire extinguisher.

The above sentence might give the impression that the two actions were simultaneous (happening at the same time). Here, therefore, the perfect participle would be better:

  • Having read the instructions, he snatched up the fire extinguisher.

The perfect participle is, however, necessary when there is an interval of time between the two actions:

  • Having failed twice, he didn't want to try again.

It is also used when the first action covered a period of time:

  • Having been his own boss for such a long time, he found it hard to accept orders from another.