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I am writing a letter, of sorts, and have to use some standard wording based on a specific law. I have a problem with the wording in one. The sentence is....."The blank must have been used and occupied for five or more years having began before December 1975." Everytime I read this I cringe. I want to change it to "having begun" but I am not sure that is correct either. Since there is an auxiliary verb present, it seems appropriate to use the past participle of "begin"; but all the handy little grammar books I have at my desk say not to use a past participle form to express the past tense. I think the original author was trying to form the past perfect tense by using the auxiliary "having" instead of "had".

If you can help me out I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
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Having begun is correct unless have ( it ) begin.

eg Please have him call me when he is back.

The sentence sounds strange, though. How about ' The blank must have been used and occupied for five or more years starting ( beginning ) before December 1975 ' ?
In your sentence, "having begun before 1975" is modifying "years", leading to absurd modification.
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nope

it has to be put in front

Having begun before 1975, the blank ......... ( so the phrase is modifying the subject ' the blank '
having been begun
I myself get confused Emotion: stick out tongue since the sentence itself doesn't sound right after all.
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I think I'd make it more obvious, maybe even two sentences, or at least a semicolon - tho because you've left "blank" I'm not sure of the exact semantics, so this might be wrong!

The blank must have been used and occupied for five or more years; the occupancy having begun before December 1975."
Uh, no that's totally wrong and since this was written in 2004 I do hope India has gotten better in teaching English and grammar usage
Hello,

The blank must have been used and occupied for five or more years having begun before December 1975.

Other than changing from “began” to “begun”, I think the passage is fine. Of course, this is no simple sentence.

I wouldn't even know how to begin explaining “having + past participle” used in a conditional context. …..if asked.Emotion: big smile
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