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My quarrel with the phrase in the question title is the use of "been doing it". Is it valid to use it this way (without the word "having" in front of it)?

If it's not grammatically correct, is it at least informally acceptable?

  • 1
    It's an elliptical construction, meaning that a word or phrase easily filled in by the Reader or Listener is omitted. – hardmath Jun 24 '14 at 22:19
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    @RegDwigнt Agreed, but I would use a semicolon instead of a comma. These are two independent clauses, even with the implied subject. – bib Jun 24 '14 at 22:36
  • Note that adding having in front of it makes the sentence almost ungrammatical—at the least very unusual and strange. “I love playing guitar, having been doing it since a very young age” is very clumsy and (to me, at least) implies that you’ve been playing the guitar non-stop ever since you were very young. If you want to use having, you should just use having done rather than having been doing. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 12 '15 at 12:15
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This is perfectly grammatical, and perfectly common to boot. It is a simple ellipsis of "and have". It is not an ellipsis of "having", though. The former just lists two things. The latter introduces a relationship between them.

It is not the highest register, and is most likely to be encountered in speech, or in reproduction or rendering of speech in writing.

A quick search of the Corpus of Contemporary American English backs me up on both accounts.

  • I shake my head, check the time. "I smash cars."
    "Pardon me?"
    I take the seat. "On Tuesday nights, I smash cars. Been doing it since high school."
    "Really?" Her eyes light up.

    The Fourth Kiss by Michael Libling
    FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, 2002

  • This is a guy who every Martin Luther King Day plays, uncut, the "I Have a Dream"speech. Been doing it for years. That's not the act of a — of a bigot.

    — CBS
    SPOKEN, 2007

  • I'm a total rookie in television, only been doing it for a couple of years but I've been in radio for over 30 years.

    — Fox, BECK for April 15, 2009
    SPOKEN, 2009

  • "The folks over at the fire station blow it every night at 6 to tell the townfolk it's time for supper. Been doing it for years," my aunt explained as I sighed with red-faced relief.

    — TEXAS MAGAZINE; Pg. 4, A very confusing trip to the coast
    MAGAZINE, 2002

Here's a direct link to my query for further examples. I am confident, though I haven't checked, that the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Historical American English will have further examples still, going farther back. Meaning to say, it is not a recent feature of the language, and is not limited to the New World.

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