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This being Silverlight, you’d expect there to be some way to get the XAML representation of the selected text—and you’d be right.

What does the clause 'This being Silverlight', and especially the meaning of the word 'being' in the following sentence?

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Related to: Is that being said gramatical? –  Matt Эллен Aug 5 '11 at 7:59
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5 Answers 5

up vote 17 down vote accepted

"This being Silverlight" in the context means "Because this is Silverlight" or "Since this is Silverlight"

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Short and Sweet +1 –  Thursagen Aug 5 '11 at 6:43
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Silverlight is a Microsoft development platform. The clause could be rewritten:

Since this is Silverlight...

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While @Josek is right, I think the phrase has a more subtle connotation. "This being x" is an expression that implies some innate knowledge about the nature of object x which leads, almost as a corollary, to the second statement.

"This being Silverlight, you’d expect there to be some way to get the XAML representation of the selected text—and you’d be right."

Could then be rephrased, "Since you are familiar with the nature of Silverlight you’d expect there to be some way to get the XAML representation of the selected text—and you’d be right, ."

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I don't agree with your interpretation. I agree that the sentence assumes some familiarity with Silverlight, however not more than in: “Since this is Silverlight, you’d expect there to be some way to get the XAML representation of the selected text—and you’d be right.” So, the expectation does not come from the phrase “This being...” but from structure: “Since this is A you would expect B” - this already assumes that “you” (or “one”) would expect something solely on the fact that “this is A”, which implies that “you” should have some knowledge about A. –  Unreason Aug 5 '11 at 12:21
    
@Unreason, I thnk you misunderstood me. What I did in my restating the phrase was unpack the connotative meaning of "This being Silverlight" in a more verbose and clear manner. You are correct that the subordinating conjunction 'Since' sets the expectation, but the expectation is dependant upon the assumed knowledge of the reader as indicated "this being." –  Andrew Neely Aug 5 '11 at 12:52
    
True, I can't see any reason to perceive any difference in expectation in the phrases: “This being EL&U...” and “Since this is EL&U...” (or any subtle connotation) –  Unreason Aug 5 '11 at 16:22
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Josek is right, but depending on the larger context it could also be tacitly implying a sort of underlying quality or reliability of the Silverlight application framework. I.E.

Given that Silverlight is such a well-designed product, you’d expect there to be some way to get the XAML representation of the selected text—and you’d be right.

But it's hard to know from such a small snippet of text. :P

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In terms of grammar, "This being x," is an absolute clause. Being is a particple and is not a half-gerund (a gerund with an accusative instead of a possesive, e.g. "me eating loudly irks Bob", which is considered ungrammatical/illiterate by prescriptivists). It is not a dangling participle as being refers to "this".

The whole clause does not depend on the main clause nor is obviously the main clause dependant on it, therefore it is said to be absolute. It basically is an adverbial clause that is not dependent. It is considered a grammatically correct construct, albeit a rarely used one.

The "This being x" construct appears relatively frequently in Stephen Fry's books. The best place to spot absolute clauses is in the writing of many Greek authors in English (J. Eugenedes excluded) as participles play a bit part in Greek.

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