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What's the meaning of "be as" in the following sentence:

"Intellect isn't everything; being is just as important".

What would be the difference if the word "as" were omitted?

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I don't understand the downvotes, especially since no downvoter deigned to provide a reason. The question reveals that the user didn't completely understand the sentence he was asking about, but so what? Isn't it part our contributions here to set the questioners straight? +1 to partially counteract the foolishness. –  Cyberherbalist Jul 1 '13 at 23:15

2 Answers 2

"being" isn't being used as a verb in this sentence. "being" is a noun, here, and the sentence is saying that the act of being is just as important as having an intellect.

Bonus Answer: This sentence is a meaningless platitude. What is "being" if it isn't existence? And without existence, intellect is impossible. It sounds like someone is trying to sound profound, without the burden of actual profundity. Just my opinion.

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Well, it may well be that someone is trying to be pseudo-profound; on the other hand, if you take "intellect" to be living mostly in the head - many people do live totally in their heads, thereby ignoring the senses, then it makes sense to advise those people to redress the balance by living more in the body. Living more fully. Not partially be-ing but fully be-ing. –  Donagh McCarthy Jul 1 '13 at 18:29
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I do believe that the word "pseudo-profound" -- nice coining, by the way -- encapsulates what I was saying in my bonus answer. Your alternate interpretation holds water, too, and might even be what the author of the quote meant. That being said, I don't think I know very many people who live totally in their heads; some of them seem to spend altogether too little time there, more's the pity. –  Cyberherbalist Jul 1 '13 at 23:11

The verb is not "be as": the verb is "is". The "as" belongs in "just as"

"Being" is here being used as a noun, with the meaning "existence, life, living". So the sentence means:

Intellect isn't everything; existence [or living] is just as important [as intellect].

Chambers Dictionary gives the following:

being noun
1 existence; life • come into being.
2 a living person or thing • beings from another world.
3 essence; essential self or nature, especially that of a person • She was like part of my very being.
ETYMOLOGY: 14c: the verbal noun and present participle of be.

In fact, omitting "as" would change the meaning:
At present (as stated above) it means "being is just as important as intellect", i.e. being and intellect are equally important.
Omitting "as" would give "being is just important", in the sense of "merely important", and with the clear implication that it is less important than intellect.

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Isn't being a gerund here, which could be replaced by to be? Slightly different from 'existence', at least to an existentialist. But your last three paragraphs are clear and necessary, so +1. –  TimLymington Jul 1 '13 at 16:42
    
Thank you for the answer. I have another question. in the question sentence "what would be the difference", is the sentence "what would the difference be" is also correct? –  Daiki Jul 1 '13 at 17:23
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@Daiki, these kinds of basic questions are off topic here, try ell.stackexchange.com instead. –  terdon Jul 1 '13 at 17:39

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