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Is Present Perfect Progessive Passive possible in English?
February 26, 2010 12:24 AM   Subscribe

GrammarFilter: Present Perfect Passive Progressive. Real or a myth?

The consensus seems to be that perfect progressive sentences can't be stated in the passive voice, but could someone tell me what this would be classified as:

Present perfect progressive:

I have been painting the house.

?:

Having been painted, the house was ready to live in.

___

No real need for this beyond idle curiosity. Thanks!
posted by MostHolyPorcine to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The house has been being painted by me?
posted by runincircles at 1:43 AM on February 26, 2010


Disclaimer: I'm not completely sure about this.

But, I think that your example sentence ("Having been painted, the house was ready to live in.") does not demonstrate the Present Perfect Progressive Passive. Rather, "having been painted" looks like an adverbial clause in that it describes the condition that was needed for the main clause to occur.
posted by mosessis at 3:05 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Runincircles has it, and that sentence sounds perfectly cromulent to me. There are even ~8,410 Google hits for "has been being painted" -perfect -passive (to filter out the grammar discussions).
posted by The Tensor at 3:36 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't use runincircles' sample sentence :) but it is grammatically fine. To avoid my reader/listener furrowing their brow in an attempt to parse it, I would probably say "The house has been in the process of being painted by me" if I insisted on making the house the subject.
posted by AugieAugustus at 5:27 AM on February 26, 2010


Possible British-English-filter here, and possible slightly-different-grammatical term. Still: we're agreed that runincircles' example is correct but a little awkward--though less so if you change the implied subject from pronoun 'me' to an actual noun, even a proper one: The house has been being painted by a famous artist.

But using get instead of be as the auxiliary verb, this would be perfectly common, at least in (British) speech:

Gordon Brown has been getting criticized by the papers.

She's been getting hassled a lot at work recently.


Of course, it would be poor style in writing. But in speech it would be fine--especially as it would always be used with a contraction of the first auxiliary verb, have (so my first example is 'hypercorrected' and unnatural, whereas my second is not).

This is different from "get" in the causative sense ("She has been getting her hair done at the new place on College Road"). But I'm not sure quite how different.
posted by lapsangsouchong at 7:04 AM on February 26, 2010


Is it considered bad form to link to Yahoo Answers? That questioner uses it, and it looks awkward but not wrong to me.

I was sure I'd get hits for "The Forth Road Bridge has been being painted..." but I must have misremembered.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 7:43 AM on February 26, 2010


My impulse would be to add "in the process of" to it.

The house has been in the process of being painted for some time now.
posted by umbĂș at 8:26 AM on February 26, 2010


could someone tell me what this would be classified as ... Having been painted, the house was ready to live in.

It's a participle (participial phrase). It's a variant on the past participle, 'painted'.

You could say instead, "The painted house was ready to live in," to make it clearer.
posted by lysimache at 1:28 PM on February 26, 2010


The consensus have been saying such things for centuries, yet to this day they continue to be eluded by some of the wonderful intricacies of English syntax and semantics. Who knows what they will be saying tomorrow.

Having been painted, the house was ready to live in.

This is a fantastic sentence. It could use some semantic paraphrasing, and maybe some verb/verb-clause substitutions to really get at what's going on here, as others have suggested above.

Paraphrased: There is a house. It was painted (somebody put a new coat of paint on it at some point in the past). Since that point, it was ready to be lived in.

Let's move it forward a bit. There is a house. It just got painted. It is now ready to be lived in.

And even more time travel. There is a house. It is currently being painted. When it is done, it will be ready to be lived in.

Maybe somebody can take these sentences further. I'm stuck and have to go do something else less brain-hurty. In all, I think the title of your post and the example sentence are asking two separate questions. But I'm very confused at the moment. I am a linguist, but syntax is not my bag.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:36 PM on February 26, 2010


Having been painted, the house was ready to live in.

I think what you've got there is a participial phrase.

I think what people mean by saying you can't passivize the present perfect progressive is that you can't say The house has been being painted by me.

Only you can, of course. It sounds a little odd, but it's improved for some reason by adding context: "Damn painters. The house has been being painted for six months now." (A very similar actual example from a quick Google search is found here: "The house has been being remodeled for about nine months now, and still has probably another month or two to go until completion".)
posted by zompist at 12:31 AM on February 27, 2010


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