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I had to argue with a non-native (though well educated) English speaker as to why this sentence was just wrong.

The sentence is:

"The mountains having surrounded and protected Andong (a city name), many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks."

The sentence was based off these grammar structure samples:

"The weather being fine, we decided to start for our picnic." "Generally speaking, it is not easy to learn a foreign language."

Help please?

Thank you.
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Comments  (Page 2) 
I think " x having" corresponds to "since the x had". If you say "since the mountains had surrounded Andong" it sounds odd, as if that were a recent event.
Then say "because" instead of "since."
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Cool Breeze
Anonymous"The mountains having surrounded and protected Andong (a city name), many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks."
What a beautiful example of a causal clause equivalent with its own subject!

CB
Hi CB
Does your comment mean that you feel completely comfortable with the sentence?

Like the original poster, I just can't shake my uneasiness with the way this sentence is worded. It sounds odd to me. If I reword the sentence to show cause more directly (i.e. if I use 'because'), I end up with this:
Because the mountains (had) surrounded and protected Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks.

I don't like the use of 'the' with 'mountains' unless it is worded as "Because the surrounding mountains..." or unless these particular mountains had already been mentioned in the context. However, there is no indication of the mountains being previously mentioned.

In addition, a past tense doesn't seem to be the best choice in combination with the present perfect (passive) in the second half of the sentence ('have been preserved'). To me, 'having surrounded and protected' clearly indicates either the past simple or the past perfect.

I'd prefer one of these possible sentences if I began the sentence with 'because':
- Because mountains surround and protect Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...
- Because the surrounding mountains protect Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...

If I turn those into sentences with a participial clause equivalent, I get these:
- Mountains surrounding and protecting Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...
- The surrounding mountains protecting Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...

Those sentences could also use 'with' at the beginning (which I also prefer to the previous two sentences):
- With mountains surrounding and protecting Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...
- With the surrounding mountains protecting Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...

I would also accept this sentence:
- Because the surrounding mountains have protected
Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...

But I don't like this:
- Because mountains have surrounded and protected Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...

Nor this:
- Because the mountains have surrounded and protected
Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...

To me, this one's just as bad -- or even worse:
- Because the mountains had surrounded and protected Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved ...
But that's basically what the original sentence says.

Just a bit more than my two cents. lol Emotion: wink
Having been/because they had/since they had, same difference G Geek. It gives the impression that the second part of the sentence follows on from the first event in sequence. Mountains surrounding a town is not an event of a normal type - geography doesn't happen that way. Thus it sounds unnatural, some people feel queasy, if they happen to be sensitive to such things.
Grammar GeekI can see your point, but I didn't picture the mountains nestling around the city deliberately. You could also change it to (without changing the structure of the sentence much) "The mountains that surround Andong having protected it for centuries,..."

I'm not a fan of the "Having X'd, " beginning, but I don't argue its correctness. I would prefer "Because of the protection provided by the mountains that surround Andong,..."

It actually read okay to me - just a bit long.

Really? I was sure that mountains just upped and moved to the town that needed them most!
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YankeeWhat a beautiful example of a causal clause equivalent with its own subject!

Hi CB
Does your comment mean that you feel completely comfortable with the sentence?
Hi Yankee

Yes, my comment means exactly that, but that doen not mean everybody else is obliged to feel the same.Emotion: smile Let there be different opinions and diversity! I do think the sentence sounds literary and with my imperfect English I probably wouldn't utter it even if I were trying to impress my audience. I just more or less hate the idea of having so many constraints on English, which has been used by countless writers far more eloquently than some experts - and I don't mean you at all - would like it to be used.

"The mountains having surrounded and protected Andong (a city name), many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks."

I understand that the at the beginning may seem wrong to some, but to me it just indicates that these mountains have been mentioned before, perhaps in the previous sentence. The would of course be wrong if no specific mountains were meant. I see nothing wrong with the perfect past participle, which grammatical structure normally refers to the past and therefore any tense that refers to the past can be appropriately used to "translate" it:

Because the mountains have surrounded and protected Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved there, including the Hahoe masks.

We now have the same tense (the present perfect) in both clauses. Nothing conflicts with the sequence of tenses.

Cheers
CB
Yeah, but the problem is just that mountains don't surround towns, even in Finland. (in an active sense, which the sentence implies)
AnonymousYeah, but the problem is just that mountains don't surround towns, even in Finland. (in an active sense, which the sentence implies)
It may be a problem for you. Not for me:

sur·round, v.t.
1. to enclose on all sides; encompass: She was surrounded by reporters.
2. to form an enclosure round; encircle: A stone wall surrounds the estate.
3. to enclose (a body of troops, a fort or town, etc.) so as to cut off communication or retreat.
- Random House Unabridged Webster's Dictionary

CB
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She was surrounded by reporters. OK.

The mountains surrounded the town.OK.

The mountains surrounded the town, but a few days later they called off the siege. Not OK.
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