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Dr Grammar

Being - progressive?

Posted by peter   13 Jun 2014 11 16 am

Hi Alex,

I've got confused with the use of "being" in some cases:

As I remember in the lesson you said 1a) below is correct. But what's the difference between 1a) and 1b) below?
1a.) Being addicted to computer games, Peter has lost focus on his grammar studies.
1b.) Addicted to computer games, Peter has lost focus on his grammar studies.

I also have confusion in reduced relative clauses below, I dont get the differences between 2b) and 2c)... or no differences?
2a.) The books which were published that year are expensive.
2b.) The books published that year are expensive.
2c.) The books being published that year are expensive.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by alex stringer   14 Jun 2014 11 13 am

Not much difference between 1a and 1b. To my mind, 1a seems to stress reason and result while 1b seems to have more of a narrative feel. But I am not sure that either of these would be very likely in real speech or writing.

Be aware that the participle clause is not a structure that has universal application. You can't take any relevant idea and make it with a participle clause. It's probably best to build up a passive knowledge of the kind of situations in which they are used. I've certainly never come across a set of notes that fully explain all the possibilities and I doubt such notes would be useful - there'd be too many exceptions, special cases, footnotes etc. (Relative clauses are far more versatile.)

As I've said before, experience leads me to doubt that we have a simple, logical 'grammar engine' in our brains that installs structures that can be applied at random to any communicative need. I feel it's much more complicated than that.

Still, some things are clear. One of which is that your example 2c is not possible as it refers to a complete (passive) action, not an incomplete one.

The books which were published... => The books published...
The options which are currently being considered are.. => The options currently being considered are...

In the second example, the relative clause uses the present continuous for something that is ongoing.


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