I feel silly asking this but I can't find the answer anywhere (including CMOS, dictionaries, etc.). I am a professional editor and am struggling with an author who uses "being" in the following way: He has a sleeve of tattoos on his left arm—the most prominent being a picture of Bettie Page. I mostly see this usage in romances or with British authors. What is "being" and why should I not change it to "is" to retain her phrasing. Thank you!!!
The difference is actually rather simple. If you use
is, then the second part is a sentence in its own right. You are writing two sentences, and I would actually expect a full stop to separate them.
If you use
being, the second part of the sentence is an absolute clause (thank you @ColinFine) that brings further information about the word "tattoos". As the wikipedia link given notes, it "is not particularly common in modern English and is generally more often seen in writing than in speech".
For what it's worth I would definitely write
being in this case.
Thank you; I'll look at these! I'm not really asking whether it "sounds" right or wrong (because that's subjective) but whether it's technically correct in that construction. If I substitute "is," it's still acceptable by this publisher in fiction, due to the em dash. If it had been separated by a comma, it would then, yes, constitute an independent clause and be incorrect. It is a dependent clause, either way, with that punctuation... Looking at "Fumble Fingers'" reference to "Being in participle clauses, it indicates one is an alternative to another and neither is incorrect. Within its context of the novel, it seems a bit pretentious, which I why I queried it.
As far as why I think it's more common in romances, that's just my experience. I've edited probably 150 books and see it more commonly in romance novels or in British or academic publications.
Thank you, all!