4

I'm not been able to make up my mind

or

I'm not being able to make up my mind?

Which one is the correct sentence? Why is it correct and why is the other one incorrect?

Edit 10/09/2012: What if I'm talking about a present action? Like: "I'm not been able to make up my mind now, so I'll try to decide it later.

4
  • 4
    Neither are correct, at least in my dialect.
    – user10893
    Aug 3, 2012 at 21:37
  • 8
    @simchona In my dialect, neither are is incorrect. 😜
    – tchrist
    Aug 3, 2012 at 21:39
  • 1
    englishclub.com/grammar/…
    – Pantalones
    Aug 3, 2012 at 23:36
  • @tchrist: Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, among others, let neither take a plural verb. In my ELU, there's a separate question for that and everybody stays on-topic at all times. \(^_^)/
    – RegDwigнt
    Aug 4, 2012 at 12:44

4 Answers 4

8

Neither is correct. Acceptable alternatives include:

  • I've not been able to make up my mind.
  • I'm not able to make up my mind.

If you expand I'm to I am, the wrongness of your examples becomes clearer.

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  • 2
    I would just add a cautionary note that expanding contractions to check whether their usage is correct is not a general rule of English. It just happens to work in many cases, including this one. (For example, it doesn't work with, "He's not as happy as I'm.") Aug 3, 2012 at 22:53
  • @David- He is not as happy as I am, is there something wrong with this? I don't think so.
    – Noah
    Aug 3, 2012 at 22:59
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    @Noah: Exactly. There's no rule in English that you can expand the contraction to see how a contraction is misused. That sentence misuses a contraction (contracting a stranded clitic to a weak form is impermissible in English). But if you expand the contraction, rather than making the wrongness clearer, it goes away. Aug 3, 2012 at 23:02
5

As other people have written before me, neither example is correct and the most likely change to the sentences you provide is: "I have not been able to make up my mind."

The second sentence is incorrect because of the verb you have chosen (to be able) which cannot be used in the continuous form. However, the expression I am not being is a correct form if you need to create a passive sentence in the present continuous tense. For example, you may wish to use it to say "I am not being waited upon properly. I'll complain to the hotel manager!" (I don't think you'll have many opportunities to utter such a sentence, but you never know...)

2
  • In your example it would be better to say 'I'll complain to the hotel manager!' Using 'with' implies that he is complaining too. Aug 4, 2012 at 11:26
  • @TonyBalmforth. You're absolutely right! When I wrote it was 2 am my time and I was sleepy, so I was misled by the different usage of prepositions between Italian and English.
    – Paola
    Aug 4, 2012 at 14:54
1

Neither is correct. I have not been able to make up my mind or I've not been able to make up my mind are the two alternatives.

-2

been: is used after have/has and had but being: is used with to be.

i.e. I have been working with XY company for a long time.

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