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All directors retired in accordance with Article 3 of the Company Ordinance and, being eligible, offered themselves for re-election.

I keep suspecting that this sentence is incorrect because it sounded weird. Is "being eligible" even legit to use? How would someone use "being" in the beginning of a sentence?

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    That sentence is grammatical. The fragment you highlight, being grammatical, can therefore be used in English sentences where it makes sense to do so. Being eligible for inclusion in said sentences, however, does not mean that doing so is particularly common, so be careful about excessive use of such constructions. – Matt Sep 10 '13 at 9:31
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    Especially pay attention so that you don't confuse subjects, which is a rather common error. "Being a young doctor, a patient visited me." – SF. Sep 10 '13 at 9:42
  • SF describes the misplaced modifier mistake. "For sale, a piano by a women with three legs." – Howard Pautz Sep 10 '13 at 21:48
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Being eligible is a simple construction that is a statement of identity. It is one perfectly acceptable way of using the verb "to be."

It can be used to begin a dependent clause at the beginning of a sentence. Here's an example: "Being an excellent runner, Henry loved to compete in marathons."

It just so happens that traditionally "being" is commonly used this way when writing a will, thus: "Being of sound mind and body, I do hereby bequeath..." or, "I, John Doe, being of sound mind and body, etc."

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Firstly this sentence makes perfect sense.

Being is used as it is in this sentence:

Being a doctor, I was often seen as a wise person

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  • And we should note: "A doctor, I was often seen with a needle in my hand." – Howard Pautz Sep 10 '13 at 21:51
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[Being] A useful technique, reducing the sentence phrases and pieces into smaller, but logically similar chunks, can make the meaning easier to understand. Being a somewhat thoughtful editor, I would then say it's also a good idea to reorder those chunks - especially for legal Mumbo Jumbo! Keep in mind, for the time being, that doing so will change the meaning. But you can add that back in.

Being that I have the time to write this, let's take your example.

All directors retired in accordance with Article 3 of the Company Ordinance and, being eligible, offered themselves for re-election.

reduce:

All directors retired in accordance with Article 3 of the Company Ordinance and, being eligible, offered themselves for re-election. [Note the comma remains after 'and' !]

reorder:

Being eligible, all directors offered themselves for re-election.

reduce:

Being eligible, [A]ll directors offered [.] themselves for re-election.

So now we have one possible core sentence:

The directors offered. [EDIT: See comment from @John M. Landsberg below]

[Edit 19Sept13: considering Mari-Lou's comment below]

We can also consider the "in accordance ..." as a long phrase, so another reduction could be simply:

The directors retired.

(Then we have to parse down that phrase ! :)

The original sentence was stilted English. Stilted anything is Mumbo Jumbo. Being an easily annoyed editor, I'd say this is much better:

Following Article 3 of the Company Ordinance, all the directors offered themselves for re-election.

Being of good spirits, this aside comment to Strunk and White bashers: guess where I learned this ?

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    Your final version is not equivalent to the original one. Parse it out. Furthermore, I don't consider your core sentence to be the core of the original sentence, nor do I see why removing meaningful pieces of the sentence is necessary to make it more intelligible as you reorder and reduce, but if you have success doing so, then more power to you. – John M. Landsberg Sep 10 '13 at 22:15
  • @JohnM.Landsberg Sorry, but I must reply that it doesn't seem to me that you read my post thoroughly enough. I specifically warned that reducing and reordering would likely change the meaning. And yes, the core could also be: "Directors retired[.]" Is that what you see ? – Howard Pautz Sep 10 '13 at 22:18
  • @JohnM.Landsberg so noted, I've edited in a note pointing to your comment. – Howard Pautz Sep 10 '13 at 22:21
  • I did read that, and granted that you acknowledge the potential change in meaning. I merely was saying I don't quite see why dropping pieces is necessary, but I also said if you do well with it, then carry on! – John M. Landsberg Sep 10 '13 at 22:27
  • yes, good - this technique also helps me learn other languages. (And I'm guessing a lot of non-native speakers are here.) Sometimes the structure of the sentence is so convoluted that reorganizing it into Subject - Verb [- object[s]] helps make sense of it --- and then put back in the excerpted clauses to try to get back the whole meaning. thx for the helpful feed back ! – Howard Pautz Sep 10 '13 at 22:35

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