In the following sentence, is it grammatically correct to omit "being"?

Cross-reference [being] impossible, we must but rely on this sole documentarian, as any other ways of accessing the exclusive, 'unfathomable' truth are absent, or at least unavailable.

What is name of such a construction (e.g. noun-adjective)? Is there a reference where I could look such things up?

  • The construction is sometimes called the nominative absolute in English. Its defining characteristic is that it has no finite verb, only a noun and an adjective. The participle being is always optional. A more common instance is that (being) said.
    – Anonym
    Nov 30, 2014 at 2:42

1 Answer 1


This is just another form of ellipsis, which is the omission of syntactical elements when the meaning is understood. As such, there's nothing wrong with omitting being in a sentence provided the meaning remains clear.

The phrase pattern Absent [noun] is heard quite a bit:

Absent evidence, we must conclude the defendant did not commit the crime.

Expanded it might read: "If evidence is absent, we must . . ."

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