Something about this sentence sounds awkward but I cannot figure out what it is.

"Becoming a leader is a very predictable process."

"Being a leader is a very predictable process."

Does anyone have suggestions? I use a parallel structure in my paper that involves a lot of sentences that start with "Being a leader."

  • 3
    "becoming" indicates a process, while "being" indicates a state. I think the sentence is fine with "becoming", though not with "being". – Gustavson Dec 10 '17 at 23:21
  • @Gustavson It is the process of becoming a leader be over when the process of being a leader begins. Is it correct to use a subjunctive in such a manner? – Michael Login Dec 10 '17 at 23:55
  • @MvLog You can't use subjunctive but present simple there: It is when the process of becoming a leader is over that the process of being a leader begins. (Here "being a leader" is equivalent to "acting as a leader".) – Gustavson Dec 11 '17 at 0:00
  • 3
    Both the sentences are fine. There are absolutely no grammar issues. However, with regard to content, being is not a process. Being a leader is hard; Becoming a leader requires a process. I would avoid IS. – Lambie Dec 11 '17 at 0:17
  • I agree that both sentences are grammatical, but only the first makes sense semantically. In addition, if you say something is a "predictable process" you will be expected to define why. – Andrew Dec 11 '17 at 2:34

It is grammatical, but it is also awkward. Get rid of "very" and the sentence will sound a lot better. As stated in Gustavson's comment, you can also change to "very" to "highly" to make the sentence sound better.

Becoming a leader is a predictable process.

Becoming a leader is a highly predictable process.

The second sentence in your question is hard to understand as several comments have said, because "becoming" is a process but "being" is a state.

  • 1
    "highly" would sound better than "very". It all comes down to the process-state distinction I made in the first place. – Gustavson Dec 11 '17 at 10:56

Depends what tense you are talking about.

  • Past tense: You should say 'becoming' as it is talking about what has happened in the past, somewhat as similar to being a process.
  • Now: If you are talking as if it was happening now, you should most definitely say 'being' however this sounds a bit awkward due to the shortness of the sentence. You may want to add some more syllables or adjectives to it to make the sound of the sentence flow more.

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