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Thread: being

    • Join Date: Sep 2005
    • Posts: 4


    God I think Im brain dead. Is being a verb or a gerund. As in the sentence

    Is he being sarcastic?

  1. Key Member
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      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
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    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585

    Re: being

    Hello RP11

    1. Is he being sarcastic?

    The "being" is part of the present progressive tense of the verb "to be". The present progressive is formed by adding the present participle to the appropriate present tense of the verb "to be". Cf.

    I am being witty.
    You are being ironic.
    He is being sarcastic.



  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: being

    In addition, if the phrase "being sarcastic" were functioning as a gerund (a.k.a. a noun) in that structure, it would rename the subject "he", like this,

    Q: Is he a taxi driver?
    A: Yes. He is a taxi driver. (He = a taxi driver)


    Q: Is he being sarcastic?
    A: Yes. He is being sacastic. (?He = being sarcastic) semantically odd

    Here are two examples where "being sarcastic" modifies the subject in different ways:

    EX: This article is about being sarcastic. (gerund phrase)
    => This article = about being sarcastic.

    EX: ?This article is being sarcastic. (participial phrase)
    => ?This article = being sarcastic. (Can inanimate objects be sarcastic?)
    Correction: The author who wrote this article is being sarcastic.


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