Why do we need to repeat the verb "to be" in this kind of statements?:

  • She is being kind to me.

It is supposed that the second "be" takes a meaning of the verb "behave".

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    She is kind to me is a more "general" statement (she's always kind to me). As usual, a present continuous form focuses more specifically on the relevance of time of utterance to what's being said. That's to say, right now she's being kind to me, even if usually she's really mean. Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 16:16
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    Exactly the same distinction would apply to She is behaving kindly towards me (right now) and She behaves kindly towards me (in general), but I suspect neither of forms would be completely natural to everyone. Kindly is a slightly tricky term. Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 16:20
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    @StoneyB I don't think that will completely explain the OP's particular dilemma here ... Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 19:56
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    @FumbleFingers So why is the first is neeed there? Why not She being kind to me? Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 19:57
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    @Araucaria "Why not She being kind to me?" For the same reason that you can't say "She eating ice-cream," "She going to the shop," .or "She driving her car." All those sentences need "is".
    – alephzero
    Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 20:42

3 Answers 3


There are two conditions when we repeat the verb "to be".

  1. When we use it in the Progressive Tense in the meaning of "have reality or actuality". The simple answer is that the verb "to be" in the continuous is used in the following way: auxiliary verb (to be) + verb+ing (being).
  2. In the Progressive Tense in the Passive Voice.

As we know the Progressive Tense is formed with the help of the helping verb "to be" (past tense or present tense) + Present Participle.


  • John is (to be in the present tense) being (present participle) rude to Alex. (Active Voice) - At the very moment of speaking.
  • I am (1st person singular present indicative) being (verb+ing) chased by bandits. (Passive voice)

More examples:

  • Selena was being accompanied by a dog. (Passive voice)
  • He was being kind to me yesterday. (Active Voice)

Notice, BBC Learning English suggests to generally avoid using the continuous form of the passive with the future, present perfect, past perfect and future perfect. Such phrases sound clumsy and unnatural.

  • The house will be being built tomorrow.

However, with the future progressive sometimes such usage exists as a prediction of an event (Passive voice):

  • The pictures will be being printed tomorrow morning.

This Source indicates the opposite:

There is no future progressive for the verb "to be". "Will be being" is expressed simply as "will be".

There's another interesting thing to notice (Source):

  1. Stative adjectives (angry, sad, dead, happy, alive, big, small) cannot normally be used in progressive and imperative constructions.

    • I am being happy. (Deliberately?)
    • The dog is being dead. (Faking?)
  2. Dynamic adjectives (rude, kind, polite, honest) can be used in the progressive and imperative constructions.

    • Adam is being rude to me. (Generally he isn't rude)
    • Melissa is being kind to her boss. (Generally she isn't)
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    Frankly, it puts my teeth on edge when somebody says "progressive tense". Because I'm only familiar with the term "progessive aspect". But never mind, it doesn't matter how you call it. :) Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 9:51

The present continuous sense in that case is used to emphasize the fact that right at the moment of speaking she treats me nicely, even though at other times she and I might not like each other. For example you and your friend are talking to her in a coffee shop then you two go to the toilet and talk privately together:

You know she hates me right? But she wants to ask for my solution for the exam question, that's why she's being nice to me right now.

Whereas present simple tense (without being) would indicate that generally she behaves in a nice manner to you because she likes you and wants to be friendly.

She is nice to me. We just met for a few days and she always asked me about my day.

Regarding your second question, being can be replaced with behaving in this context and it still keeps the original meaning. But being on its own already explicitly expresses the idea.


The present continuous construction is typically used to describe an action that is happening now (as opposed to usually, or generally).

  • She is being kind to me.

The Original Poster asks why we need the verb BE two times in this example. The present continuous construction requires two verbs. The first verb is always the verb BE. The second verb is always an -ing form of a verb. We need both parts to make a present continuous. We cannot indicate that the action is in progress now without this grammar.

The first verb BE here is necessary because it tells us whether the sentence is present tense or past tense:

  • She is being kind to me.
  • She was being kind to me.

The second BE is necessary for two reasons. Firstly, we need something to tell us that the phrase kind to me describes the Subject of the sentence. This is one of the jobs that the verb BE does. The second reason we need it is to show that the action is happening now. The second BE does this by (a) occurring after the present tense form of BE and (b) by providing an -ing form of a verb. The -ing form is important because it tells us that the speaker is thinking of an action happening at a specific time, and not communicating that this action generally happens. Compare:

  • She is kind to me. (usually)
  • She is being kind to me. (right now - but perhaps she isn't usually kind)

  • She was kind to me. (probably usually)

  • She was being kind to me. (then - but we don't know if she was usually kind)
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    Taking note of some of the comments under the actual question, I must say this answer seems like it should be particularly useful in helping learners to understand why the construction can involve using BE twice (as opposed to simply being told what options are possible, and how they affect meaning). Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 12:34

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