I've read that "being+past participle" is used in participle. But I'm confused to have found the following sentences written in one of my grammar book (This book isn't available in internet) as gerunds. These sentences are:

  1. He is afraid of being hated.
  2. I remember being taken to Delhi as a small boy.
  3. Being frightened wouldn't solve any problems.

My questions:

  1. What's the meanings of above sentences?

  2. In which condition this "being+past participle" construction is used as gerunds to make sentences?

  • @someone, I don't know what downvote mean, why there's downvote here in the question?
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 14:05
  • Not my down-vote. I have no idea why it got a down-vote. I liked this question. A good learner's question. +1 for you :-) Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 14:39

2 Answers 2



He is afraid of being hated.

You have to learn how the adjective - afraid - is used in a sentence. What it licenses etc. A good place to look for those things is a good learners' dictionary. Look here.

You see there?

  • afraid of doing something - I started to feel afraid of going out alone at night.

So the adjective - afraid - licenses a Preposition Phrase (PP) - of doing something - headed by the head preposition - of. Inside the PP, the head preposition - of - take a Gerund-Participle form of verb - doing something - as a complement.

Now that you know about the usage of the adjective - afraid, consider the following sentence -

He is afraid of feeding his dogs.

He is afraid is fine. Now, what he fears? This is to be introduced by a PP headed by a preposition - of. Here he is to feed the dogs and he fears to perform that action. So feeding the dogs is what he fears. This Gerund-Participle form of verb - feeding the dogs - will be the complement of the preposition - of - inside the PP.

Now concentrate on your sentence -

He is afraid is fine. What he fears? that people will hate him. We can't use hating him as a complement of of inside the PP. Why? Because then it would mean that the action - hating - to be performed by the subject of the sentence - he. But that is not the intended meaning. So we have to look for other alternatives. What he fears? (he is) to be hated (by people) is what he fears. That gives the intended meaning. So of being hated can act as a complement of the adjective - afraid.

He is afraid of being hated.


I remember being taken to Delhi as a small boy.

I guess you don't have any problem with the part as a small boy, so for simplicity I remove that part.

I remember being taken to Delhi.

So what I said earlier? Learn the usage of words. Here the verb - remember. This will help.

  • remember doing something Do you remember switching the lights off before we came out?

What you remember? switching the lights off Who is performing the action of switching the lights off? The subject - you - itself.

But in your sentence it's a bit different. The action of taking to Delhi is not being performed by the subject - I. But by some other person.

What do I remember? (I am) being taken to Delhi (by some one) is what I remember. So it's

I remember being taken to Delhi.

Hope I could help. You can ask in comments if you need any more clarification.

  • from India,I think you well addressed my question. Thank you.But I still have some questions for clarifcation.
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 15:00
  • @yubrajsharma You welcome :-) The other answer is also good. Tell me your doubts. Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 15:02
  • from india,Do you mean that 'afraid of' and 'remember' only follow 'ing form' in active voice sentences.so,It's the passive form "being+p.p" in my question?
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 15:14
  • @yubrajsharma In both cases it's ing form of verb. But one is in active voice, and one is in passive voice. In you question the part that acts as a complement of afraid or remember is in passive voice. The action is not performed by the subject of the sentence, but by some other person. Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 15:17
  • from india, I don't know what you mean by "one is active and one is in passive". BUT i see both the sentences in my questions are in passive. "Being hated and Being taken"
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 15:34

I start by expressing the meaning of those sentences:

He is afraid of being hated.

This sentence means that he's afraid that other people hate him. In this sentence "of being hated" is the complement of the adjective afraid. In fact, the adjective afraid licenses prepositional phrases beginning with of.

I remember being taken to Delhi as a small boy.

This sentence means You remember that someone took you to Delhi when you was a small boy. Here being taken is the passive form of the "taking". Why passive? Because you want to say that you were taken by someone else. I should also mention that after some verbs (including remember) we can use verb+ing; for example consider these sentences in active voice:

  • I vaguely remember locking the car.
  • I started working on the problem.
  • I finished writing the letter.

Being as a gerund usually takes adjectives, nouns or prepositions as matter of the fact that such phrases refer to conditions and states:

  • Being a teacher is difficult.
  • Being frightened would not solve any problems.
  • Being on the plane can be dangerous.

However, note that being + noun/adjective/prepositions can also be used as adverbial participles:

  • Being a teacher, I want to answer this question
  • Being afraid of height, I didn't go with my friends to the journey.
  • Being on the plane, I couldn't use my cell-phone.
  • ,could you please deal with my second question ?I want to learn about the situation or condition in which the constitution is to be used. or the use of this construction as gerunds.
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 13:52
  • @yubrajsharma I think I've already addressed that issue.
    – Cardinal
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 14:02
  • I haven't got you yet
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 14:31
  • @yubrajsharma So, please pinpoint the bottleneck. What is your exact problem? I have added some points, though.
    – Cardinal
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 15:48
  • I See both answer usfull, what I'm confused is about "being+p.p" construction and how to use it in sentences, so Now i'm discussing with @man from india about it.
    – yubraj
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 15:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .