Could someone please help me with the construction in the first part of these sentences?

     Having finished his homework, he went to bed.

     Having been delayed by heavy traffic, she was late for work.

Some students asked me to explain when and how to use this construction ‘having + past participle’ etc.

Does it have a name? I remember it from studying Latin a long time ago, but cannot think what it is called.

Many thanks,


PS - this is my first post. If it is in the wrong forum - apologies.
1 2

That is the reduced form of past perfect tense.
Welcome to EF, Graham. Your post is in the right forum. I think some native speakers call your structure a reduced temporal clause. I have called it a temporal clause equivalent ever since I was taught English clause equivalents at school at the age of 15. That's what they are called in this part of the world. Terminology varies from place to place.

The subject of the participle must be the same as that of the main clause. There are usually three alternatives:

After finishing his homework, he went to bed.

Having finished his homework, he went to bed.

After having finished his homework, he went to bed.

(= After he had finished his homework, he went to bed.)

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Many thanks, exo
Hello everyone,
Graham I'm not a native speaker but I've flipped through many grammars and I can help you with the terminology used in grammars for such constructions as in the sentences you've posted :
"Having finished his homework, he went to bed" 
This sentence is a complex sentence."Having finished his homework" is an element in the structure of this sentence  functionally being an adverbial or more specifically, an adverbial of time. By its form its a non-finite clause since the main verb - "having" is not marked with tense or aspect i.e it is a non-finite verb. Non-finite form of the clause can be replaced with a finite clause like: 
"After he finished his homework he went to bed"

The function of "After he finished his homework" is the same as with a non-finite counterpart of course- it is an adverbial.

Best regards
Many thanks to all who have given of their expertise to answer this question.

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You're welcome Graham Emotion: smile
When -ing forms are used in certain ways, they are called present participles, not suitable names as they can be used to talk about the past, present, or future. Present and past participles cn be put together to make progressive and perfect forms as in having arrived.
Taken from Michael Swan's Practical English Usage
It's called gerund perfect. Tell your students that this structure is similar to past perfect and combines with past tense when using it such as in "Having finished his homework, he went to bed". Explain the time sequence of the events as well.(First he finished his homework, then he went to bed.) A few languages do not have this construction at all, therefore it is difficult for some of the students to see what happens first in a sentence like this. (We don't have this structure in Hungarian either. )
Hope this helps,
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