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@Mark454 posted:

Is it correct to say "The criminal is suspected of being aided by other individuals"?

Hi, Mark—Yes, that sentence is correct. It is also possible to use "is suspected to be aided" instead of "is suspected of being aided," but both are fine. Likewise, if we wanted to change from passive to active voice, we could say either "They suspect the criminal of being aided by other individuals" or "They suspect the criminal to be aided by other individuals."

@Mark454 posted:

I would like to ask you one more question to better understand this sentence: "they are suspected of being aided" can also refer to a past event, as in "they suspect that they have been aided/ were aided", right?

If the suspicion is present but the aiding took place in the past, you should use a perfect form of the nonfinite verb:

- The criminal is suspected of having been aided by other individuals.

- They suspect the criminal of having been aided by other individuals / They suspect the criminal to have been aided by other individuals.

If both the suspicion and the aiding took place in the past, we'd have:

- The criminal was suspected of being aided by other individuals.

- They suspected the criminal of being aided by other individuals / They suspected the criminal to be aided by other individuals.

If the suspicion lies in the past and the aiding took place further back in the past, we'd have:

- The criminal was suspected of having been aided by other individuals.

- They suspected the criminal of having been aided by other individuals / They suspected the criminal to have been aided by other individuals.

If the suspicion is present but the aiding took place in the past, you should use a perfect form of the nonfinite verb:

- The criminal is suspected of having been aided by other individuals.

- They suspect the criminal of having been aided by other individuals / They suspect the criminal to have been aided by other individuals.

If both the suspicion and the aiding took place in the past, we'd have:

- The criminal was suspected of being aided by other individuals.

- They suspected the criminal of being aided by other individuals / They suspected the criminal to be aided by other individuals.

If the suspicion lies in the past and the aiding took place further back in the past, we'd have:

- The criminal was suspected of having been aided by other individuals.

- They suspected the criminal of having been aided by other individuals / They suspected the criminal to have been aided by other individuals.

Thank you for the reply! From what I know "having been done", just like "having done" can be replaced with "being done" and "doing" because they have the same meaning when they refer to a past action. Is this correct?

@Mark454 posted:

From what I know "having been done", just like "having done" can be replaced with "being done" and "doing" because they have the same meaning when they refer to a past action. Is this correct?

Please reread what I explained above. "doing" and "being done" can only refer to the past if the reporting verb ("suspect," in this case) is in the past.

Please reread what I explained above. "doing" and "being done" can only refer to the past if the reporting verb ("suspect," in this case) is in the past.

I did understand what you wrote, it's just that I am not completely convinced, even though your explenation was thorough and crystal clear. I also found these examples in the Cambridge online dictionary: "The police suspect him of carrying out two bomb attacks." and "I suspect him of stealing the silverware". Do you think these examples are an exception to the rule?

Last edited by Mark454
@Mark454 posted:

I also found this example in the Cambridge online dictionary: "The police suspect him of carrying out two bomb attacks." Do you think this example is an exception to the rule?

You are right. That example works. I have to say that the perfect form of the nonfinite works better to refer to the past with stative verbs and when there are no details pointing to a specific occurrence. Please compare:

1. The police suspect him of being a terrorist.

2. The police suspect him of preparing bomb attacks.

3. The police suspect him of carrying out two bomb attacks.

In (1), "being" is stative and that sentence will most likely be interpreted as: The police suspect he is a terrorist (not was).

In (2), "bomb attacks" is unspecified and, as a result, that sentence will tend to be interpreted as: The police suspect he is involved in the preparation of bomb attacks.

In (3), the present-past ambiguity is dispelled by the presence of a specific detail pointing to the past, along with the meaning of the verb "carry out."

Instead, the sentences:

- The criminal is suspected of being aided by other individuals.
- The criminal is suspected to be aided by other invididuals.

are at best ambiguous as to the time of the aiding. To me, in the absence of further information, they sound as if they are suspected of having (not "having had") accomplices.

You are right. That example works. I have to say that the perfect form of the nonfinite works better to refer to the past with stative verbs and when there are no details pointing to a specific occurrence. Please compare:

1. The police suspect him of being a terrorist.

2. The police suspect him of preparing bomb attacks.

3. The police suspect him of carrying out two bomb attacks.

In (1), "being" is stative and that sentence will most likely be interpreted as: The police suspect he is a terrorist (not was).

In (2), "bomb attacks" is unspecified and, as a result, that sentence will tend to be interpreted as: The police suspect he is involved in the preparation of bomb attacks.

In (3), the present-past ambiguity is dispelled by the presence of a specific detail pointing to the past, along with the meaning of the verb "carry out."

Instead, the sentences:

- The criminal is suspected of being aided by other individuals.
- The criminal is suspected to be aided by other invididuals.

are at best ambiguous as to the time of the aiding. To me, in the absence of further information, they sound as if they are suspected of having (not "having had") accomplices.

So if my sentence was in context, as a part of an article or story for instance, and it was clear that the the criminals were aided in "the past", do you think it would be correct?

Last edited by Mark454
@Mark454 posted:

So if my sentence was in context, as a part of an article or story for instance, and it was clear that the the criminals were aided in "the past", do you think it would be correct?

I strongly favor the perfect form, but context might help.

David, would you mind telling us your opinion about a sentence like this one?:

- The criminal is suspected of being aided by other individuals in his last two robberies.

I personally prefer The criminal is suspected of having been aided ... or The criminal is suspected of relying on the aid of ..., but your view will prevail.

David, would you mind telling us your opinion about a sentence like this one?:

- The criminal is suspected of being aided by other individuals in his last two robberies.

I personally prefer The criminal is suspected of having been aided ... or The criminal is suspected of relying on the aid of ..., but your view will prevail.

I have the same preference, Gustavo, and I agree with the observation you made in your third post that the perfect is highly desirable in the nonfinite clause when that clause is stative—or habitual—and reference is being made in that clause to a time preceding the time of the main verb. Consider:

(4) He is suspected of taking the money.
(5) He is suspected of having taken the money.

(6) He is suspected of taking money.
(7) He is suspected of having taken money.

The two example pairs are identical aside from "the" being used in (4) and (5) but not in (6) and (7). But that is a key difference. Sentences (4) and (5) are synonymous; the perfect ("having taken") is not needed. "The money" refers to a definite amount, which must, therefore, have been taken in the past.

Sentences (6) and (7) are not synonymous. Taking money (NOT "the money") can be something that occurs on an ongoing basis. A thief can take money and then keep on taking it. So the perfect is needed if past-time reference is involved. Those two sentences may be paraphrased as below:

(6a) It is suspected that he takes money.
(7a) It is suspected that he took money / has taken money.

Last edited by David, Moderator

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