Could someone please explain this sentence to me

I am sick of being called "Excuse Me"

enter image description here This line was said in the 8th episode of friends.

I recon this is a passive voice. And "being" is a helping verb(ing form) and "called" is main verb(third form). It is just like

I am being called "Excuse me".

But the problem is that we are using a proposition(of) in the first sentence. And propositions are being followed by noun,pronoun or gerund. for example

Sorry for being late.

I think "being" is gerund here. But in the first sentence "being" doesn't seem a gerund.

So can someone please explain the structure of first sentence and how we can use verb after a preposition.

  • 3
    "Being called excuse me" is a gerund-participial clause which functions perfectly well as complement of the preposition "be".
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 17:15
  • 1
    Why do you think it's not a gerund? I am sick of waiting, I am sick of swimming, I am sick of being _____ - they're all gerunds.
    – stangdon
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 17:36
  • 1
    It's not a gerund; "being" is a verb functioning as head of the passive clause "Being called 'Excuse Me'".
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 18:15
  • 2
    It certainly is a gerund. It is a verbal noun - a form of the verb which functions as the head of a noun phrase. That is exactly what a gerund is in English.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 23:06
  • 2
    @beginner My advice to you is to forget the word gerund; it has no place in modern grammar. The traditional gerund is a verb form functioning as or like a noun. Nowadays we look to see whether the word is functioning as a verb or a noun --- that is what's important. In I'm sick of being called Excuse Me' and your two examples, "being" is a verb as head of clause.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 6:51

2 Answers 2


I'm happy with the parsing "being called 'excuse me'" as a nominal clause headed by a gerund "being". This phrase is a non-finite dependent clause. The verb complement form "call (someone) X" which in a passive form becomes "be called X" and as a gerund, "being called X"

The sentence "I am being called X" is present continuous, and here you can see how the gerund form came to be used to form the present continuous tense. So although it has a similar form, it is not really the same as the first sentence. Here "being" is an active particple rather than a gerund.

So there is no problem with "I'm sick of being called 'excuse me'". The preposition "of" precedes the noun phrase "being called..." just as expected. You can form lots of sentences this way:

I'm sick of hotdogs.

I'm sick of the Tories.

I'm sick of working.

I'm sick of the dogs barking.


The woman is fed up with waitressing. Among other things, she doesn't make enough money from the "lousy tips" (i.e., gratuities), and it's too impersonal — nobody addresses her except to say "excuse me" (i.e., not calling her by her name).

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