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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

Satis de Caesare hoc dictum habeo


3.

The combination with the participle of the verb substantive, _I have been_; _thou hast been_; _he has been_.

It is by examples of the first of these three divisions that the true construction is to be shown.

For an object of any sort to be in the possession of a person, it must previously have existed. If I possess a horse, that horse must have had a previous existence.

Hence, in all expressions like _I have ridden a horse_, there are two ideas, a past idea in the participle, and a present idea in the word denoting possession.

For an object of any sort, affected in a particular manner, to be in the possession of a person, it must previously have been affected in the manner required. If I possess a horse that has been ridden, the riding must have taken place before I mention the fact of the ridden horse being in my possession; inasmuch as I speak of it as a thing already done,--the participle, _ridden_, being in the past tense.

_I have ridden a horse_ = _I have a horse ridden_ = _I have a horse as a ridden horse_, or (changing the gender and dealing with the word _horse_ as a thing) _I have a horse as a ridden thing_.

In this case the syntax is of the usual sort. (1) _Have_ = _own_ = _habeo_ = _teneo_; (2) _horse_ is the accusative case _equum_; (3) _ridden_ is a past participle

agreeing either with _horse_, or _with a word in apposition with it understood_.

Mark the words in italics. The word _ridden_ does not agree with _horse_, since it is of the neuter gender. Neither if we said _I have ridden the horses_, would it agree with _horses_; since it is of the singular number.

The true construction is arrived at by supplying the word _thing_. _I have a horse as a ridden thing_ = _habeo equum equitatum_ (neuter). Here the construction is the same as _triste lupus stabulis_.

_I have horses as a ridden thing_ = _habeo equos equitatum_ (singular, neuter). Here the construction is--

"Triste ... maturis frugibus imbres, Arboribus venti, nobis Amaryllidos irae."

or in Greek--

[Greek: Deinon gunaixin hai di' odinon gonai].

The classical writers supply instances of this use of _have_. _Compertum habeo_, milites, verba viris virtutem non addere = _I have discovered_ = _I am in possession of the discovery_. Quae cum ita sint, satis de Caesare hoc _dictum habeo_.

The combination of _have_ with an intransitive verb is irreducible to the idea of possession: indeed, it is illogical. In _I have waited_, we cannot make the idea expressed by the word _waited_ the object of the verb _have_ or _possess_. The expression has become a part of language by means of the extension of a false analogy. It is an instance of an illegitimate imitation.

The combination of _have_ with _been_ is more illogical still, and is a stronger instance of the influence of an illegitimate imitation. In German and Italian, where even _intransitive_ verbs are combined with the equivalents to the English _have_ (_haben_, and _avere_), the verb substantive is not so combined; on the contrary, the combinations are


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