I've read in BBC that we use use "being" as a verb-ing. BBC has listed two kinds of usage; what I want to learn about here is the "preposition + verb-ing" usage. It has been said that "being + past particle" here is functioning as a noun. But I don't know the kinds of meaning this conveys. So,The following are two examples from BBC

  1. I look forward to being interviewed on the current affairs programme. ( what does "being interviewed" mean? )
  2. She was afraid of being accused of a crime which she did not commit. (What does "being accused of" mean ?) Learning English | BBC World Service

I think the following are also examples of "preposition + verb-ing":

  1. John talks about being helped by a stranger. (Does it mean -john talks about that he was helped by a stranger.)

  2. Before being moved to an apartment, he lived in a hostel. (Does it mean "Before he was moved to........)

  3. Despite being helped by nurse,he slepped and fell. (Does it mean- despite he was helped by nurse ,........)

  4. What is the risk of being killed in war ? (Does it mean- what is the risk of killing in a war ?)

  5. What are the chances of being killed by a falling tree ? (Does it mean: what are the chances of killing in a war?)

  6. Share your experiences of being helped by a teacher. (Does it mean: share your experiences when you were helped by a stranger ?)

  7. I am looking forward to him being interviewed vs I am looking forward him to be interviewed. Are these sentences the same; if not what is the difference ??

Please explain to me the meaning and usage of "being + past particle" when used with a preposition.

  • She was afraid that she might be accused of a crime. – Kate Bunting Aug 11 '19 at 8:27
  • @KateBunting thanks a lot. Should I consider the kind of sentences with the modal verb "might"? What about the sentence Despite being helped by nurse,he slepped and fell. ? – concurrencyboy Aug 11 '19 at 12:36
  • ... (in [5]) To convert from the passive, a 'false subject' is probably favoured here: 'Despite the fact that a nurse helped / was helping him, he slipped and fell'. // You need to examine the passive transformation << A stranger helped John ==> John was helped by a stranger (where the agent ['a stranger'] may be dropped if desired) >>; the (grammatically optional) by-phrase is part of the transformation. With for example << 'What is the risk of someone/something killing you [in war]?' ==> 'What is the risk of being killed [in war]?' >>, in war is a non-essential (to the grammar) adverbial. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 11 '19 at 14:03

Your sentences are passive constructions. Passives are constructed with a form of the verb to be plus a past participle. For example:

  • He was killed in the Korean war.
  • She will be interviewed on a current affairs program.
  • He had been moved into an apartment.

The tense (form) of the verb to be in the above sentences is chosen in the usual way that the various tense forms are chosen.

Your sentences are also in the passive voice, but they use the present participle (-ing) form of the verb to be, namely being. This is because the nouns, verbs and adjectives you examplify are followed by a preposition that requires an -ing form.

You can see the -ing form if you convert the sentences to the active and include the [agent]. For example:

  • I look forward to [the presenter] interviewing me on the current affairs program.
  • She was afraid of [the police] accusing her of a crime.
  • What is the risk of [a sniper] killing me in a war.
  • What are the chances of [a falling tree] killing me.
  • Share your experiences of [a teacher] helping you.

The same applies to the preposition despite:

  • Despite [the nurse] helping him... .

Of course, a reason to use the passive in the first place is to avoid the need to name the agent (often because the agent is either obvious, unknown or unimportant). And with the exception of the tree and teacher examples, this is the case in your sentences.

As to your bolded question: I am looking forward him to be interviewed is ungrammatical.

  • Thank you sir a lot. But what do you mean by saying with the exception of the tree and teacher examples? – concurrencyboy Aug 12 '19 at 2:10
  • @concurrencyboy. The agent is the doer of the action. So in the active sentence The police arrested her yesterday, the agent is the police. The passive equivalent is She was arrested by the police. Since it is pretty clear that only the police can arrest people, the agent would probably be omitted: She was arrested yesterday. In your question (which was edited after I answered it), your passive sentences 1,2,4,7 and 9 have no agent, whereas sentences 3 by a stranger, 5 by a nurse,6 by a tree, and 8 by a teacher do have the agent. – Shoe Aug 12 '19 at 8:24

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