"He might have been being facetious."
"Diamonds have been being mined in South Africa for years."
"His plans have been being sidetracked for years."
Why would people use such a grammar construction?
There's a difference between, "Have you been naughty?", which could mean one instance of being naughty and "Have you been being naughty?", which means being naughty over a period of time.
A: "Relax. He was just being facetious."
B: "He might have been being facetious. I'm not convinced." (You can't leave 'being' out here.)
We've discussed this at greater length before. Unfortunately the software configuration rejects the whole of "have been being" from searches.
Last edited by Raymott; 18-Apr-2011 at 16:07.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
(1) Mr. Swan tells us that perfect progressive passives
(has been being) are unusual.
(2) To understand the next item, it is necessary to know
two words: to initiate (to introduce a new member into a club)
and labored (something that is difficult to do and is not very
smooth or elegant).
Harper's English Grammar (by Professor John B. Opdycke) tells us
that "At this time tomorrow I will be being initiated" is correct and
intelligible, though LABORED.
(3) Finally, Professor Quirk and his distinguished colleages tell us that
we can change "The Conservatives [a political party] have not been
winning seats lately" to "Seats have not been being won by the
Conservatives lately," but he says this is RARE and he even uses a
question mark (the authors are not sure whether such a sentence is
The professors add that maybe one reason we avoid this kind of
passive is the double use of "be": be being/ been being. It is
"awkward" (not smooth) sounding to native speakers.
I agree with Raymott on this one. Ostap asked why people would use such a construction, and Raymott came up with contexts in which people might well use them.
I also agree with Parsers's sources - this construction is rare. However, it exists and is, sometimes, appropriate,