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I was recently chastised by my supervisor for describing something as being something else.

The problem:

"Species A has genes X1, X2 and X3, Species B has genes Y1 and Y2. Protein X3 being the homolog of Y1"

I was told that "being" is plain incorrect but I do not understand why, it reads perfectly fine to me.

The proposed revision was:

"Protein X3 is the homolog of Protein Y1"

Why is this more correct?

  • The objection may be that the present participle normally expresses a current action or state of affairs - i.e., something that is time dependant such as "It is raining". This does not sit well with an identity such as "X = Y". Further, "Protein X being the homolog of Protein Y" appears to be a phrase rather than a sentence, and therefore requires completion. – UserEpsilon Feb 21 at 18:42
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    Your first "sentence" is not a full sentence, as it does not have a finite verb. – Colin Fine Feb 21 at 18:46
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    What’s the context? – Richard Z Feb 21 at 19:41
  • Thank you for your comments. Species A has genes X1, X2 and X3, Species B has genes Y1 and Y2. Protein X3 being the homolog of Y1. – user8998021 Feb 21 at 19:45
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    As Colin said, the way you’ve used it here, it is not a sentence, but a phrase that can function as part of a sentence; but the punctuation treats it like a sentence. That’s your problem. Also, you should edit clarifications like your comment here into the question itself, rather than leaving it as a comment. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 21 at 19:55
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"X being Y helped us narrow down our search."

"X being Y, I don't understand why the numbers won't match."

"X is Y, and that's the truth."

"We concluded that X is Y."

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