Regarding Being + P.P construct:

In The Grammar Book it is described as Progressive: enter image description here

but the same construct in Cambridge Grammar of English is described as Passive:

enter image description here

Which one is correct?

  • 1
    'Being worn out' with the adjectival usage is, like 'being exhausted', 'being tired', and 'being sleepy', not a passive construction. 'Being broken' may be considered passive: 'Being broken by the ball, the glass was obviously missold as 'unbreakable', but may be similar in nature to 'being sleepy': 'Being broken, the slide is of no use'. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 19:53
  • Interesting question - I agree with Edwin that 'Being worn out' could be seen as either adjectival or adverbial, but that both relate to a verb in the active voice and that 'Being consulted' relates to a verb in the passive voice - unless I'm mistaken, your examples are examples of different uses of 'Being + PP'. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 20:37
  • To be clear, by "P.P" you mean "past participle"?
    – MJ713
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 22:02
  • Again, this isn't a question about grammar; everyone agrees about grammaticality. It's about what to call constructions and how to define them. And what to call the various parts of the constructions and how to define them. D.C. al Fine. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 22:30
  • @MJ713 Yes, P.P is past participle.
    – user147384
    Commented Dec 23, 2020 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


Being worn out from all the work, John decided to relax for the evening.

While this sentence is grammatical, I disagree with The Grammar Book's interpretation. "Worn out" is not a participle in this sentence; rather, it is simply an adjective (Source 1, Source 2). This being the case, the phrase "being worn out" is a participial phrase (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3). Participial phrases act as adjectives. In this case, the phrase is describing the subject of the sentence, John. "Being" is the present participle of "to be", not a helper to another verb, and "worn out" is the subject complement. Who is worn out? John is worn out.

I agree with The Grammar Book in one respect: the use of "being" does emphasize that John's "worn-out-ness" is the "reason or cause for the result expressed in the main clause", i.e. deciding to relax.

Being consulted on the matter would have been nice too.

This is also a grammatical sentence, and it is undoubtedly an example of a passive voice construction. The implied subject of the sentence, "I", would be the object of the verb in an active construction.

Note that the use of "being" here is a specific case of a general principle. We create passive-voice constructions in general by pairing the past participle with various tenses of the verb "to be" (Source 1, Source 2).

Active Voice:

They consult me on the matter.

I consulted Terry last week.

Consulting me would have been nice.

Passive Voice:

I am consulted by them on the matter.

Terry was consulted by me last week.

Being consulted would have been nice.

In short, the first example is not a case of "'being' + [past participle]" at all, and the second example is a specific case of "[form of to be] + [past participle]".

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