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I've heard from somewhere in this website that being can be deleted after almost every preposition... which aroused many questions as to the usage of being for me.

Today, I encountered this sentence:

It was not even close to straight.

What I normally prefer:

It was not even close to being straight.

The original author of the sentence did not include "being" in this sentence, and I wondered if it was fine to do so, as it was just a comment for some silly video (not very credible). This sounded slightly too elided, but not so much that I detected the horrendous ungrammaticality.

So my question is this. Is it grammatical and not informal to delete the being here? And also, is the rumor (at least to me, it is) true that "being" is redundant after the prepositions so is almost always deleted?

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    Related question, What is elided with “from adjective to adjective”. – user140086 Dec 22 '15 at 9:07
  • Do you also think that "The road is straight" is less clear than "The road is being straight?" – jejorda2 Dec 28 '15 at 18:46
  • @jejorda2 The preposition forces the use of "being" in my sentence. In your sentence, being is just completely redundant (without the context, of course). – sooeithdk Dec 28 '15 at 20:18
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"Being" used in this way usually implies behaviour. In your example it sounds like something (i.e. an animate object) was literally out of position or bent, rather than not behaving in a "straight" way.

"Being straight" therefore doesn't make sense here. Especially since it is an expression which has other meanings to do with behaviour, for instance:

You're not being straight with me.

See this article for a discussion of be in continuous tense: https://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verbs-m_vmwct_3.htm

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    I really don't think so. – sooeithdk Dec 22 '15 at 17:34
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You asked...

Is it grammatical and not informal to delete the being here? And also, is the rumor (at least to me, it is) true that "being" is redundant after the prepositions so is almost always deleted?

  1. Omitting "being" is fine grammatically. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "informal," though.

  2. I think it's safe to say that brevity is generally a mark of good English (except in some literary works). In that spirit, YES, "being" is redundant when used this way. I certainly wouldn't use it.

However, I can't tell you if MOST people omit it or not. I would guess that most good writers omit it, but many people would probably unconscious use "being" without really understanding the fine points of grammar.

Note: There are a couple instances of "close to being" here. However, I'm not sure exactly how to extrapolate them to your example. However, they appear to be associated with nouns (e.g. "disaster"), while "straight" is not a noun. But these are just a couple isolated examples, and I may be interpreting them incorrectly.

Then again, this author talks about "being close to definite" and "being close to indefinite." So I guess you can forget my last comment. ;)

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Since the first sentence and second sentence both speak about the present tense of "it", they both mean the same thing and both constitute a correct sentence.

Being is a present participle ("Being." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2015).

I think it depends on style how you want to express "it". If you break it down, it just sounds different contextually. Without knowing what "it" is, it is difficult to conjure an image of the present state of "it".

Let's take some examples:

>The pipe was not even close to straight.
>The pipe was not even close to being straight.

The first sentence says the pipe was not close to straight. How can the pipe be close to straight then?

Adding being seems to add a status that can be compared to something else.

Another example:

>The street was not even close to straight.
>The street was not even close to being straight.

I think the issue isn't the word being, but the word straight, since it hard to understand what "not close to straight" can mean. Adding being seems to clear this issue up and feels more comfortable.

  • Thanks! But I think word "even" in my sentence kind of clears up the issue. Kind of. – sooeithdk Dec 28 '15 at 20:19
  • Oops, I didn't see the "even". But "even" describes "close", not straight. Even with the examples above, it still isn't clear. ^_^ – Newbie Analyst Dec 28 '15 at 23:59
  • Well, this use of straight simply means "not being bent". – sooeithdk Dec 29 '15 at 3:10
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I feel both the statements are acceptable. At times even I avoid using 'being'. Well at times, it does change the meaning of the statement, but it is fine grammatically, and not taken as 'informal' in all cases.

Also, Ref. the last comment of 'sooeithdk', i.e.: "Well, this use of straight simply means 'not being bent'." Or, it can be said: it simply means "not bent".

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