I know that we can use a sentence in Present Progressive Passive form like this :

Active : The postman is delivering the mail. Passive: The mail is being delivered by the postman.

But I just wondering why in some passive sentences we use being without "to be" !!!

My question are : A) Where is "am is are was were" ? B) What's the structure of these sentences ? ( I'm totally confused, maybe there is an structure of forming these sentences that I don't know)

For example in these sentences I can't find "To Be" :

1) She basically keeps Riley from being poisoned, physically and socially.

2) Bing Bong (He) being dragged far off to the dark.

3) Riley sitting up in bed after being scared awake.

4) Joy and Sadness hear the sound of a new memory being produced.

  • You are struggling with the same concept here as in your other question. In all of your examples, "being" is used as a noun or adjective. We call the present participle a "gerund" when used as a noun or a "participle," when used as an adjective. It's not the same as using the present participle in the present progressive tense, where it is a part of the verb compound. The participle becomes a different part of speech! Dec 16, 2017 at 22:44
  • Confused! I think each of 4 examples are passive sentences ... just like this one "The mail is being delivered by the postman." how should I accept that being is a noun or adjective there ... if "being poisoned" is a noun so how the sentence is passive ?
    – Pixier
    Dec 16, 2017 at 22:51
  • None of your examples is passive. The reason "the mail is being delivered" is passive is because "the mail" is used as the subject, even though it is actually the object being delivered. Your second and third examples are not complete sentences, as Jeff pointed out. You could make them complete present progressive sentences by add "to be." (For example, Riley is sitting up in bed.) But they still would not be passive voice. Dec 16, 2017 at 22:58
  • About -ing clauses: eslmonster.com/article/ing-clauses
    – Karolini
    Dec 16, 2017 at 23:04

2 Answers 2


Being X when used like this means "transitioning to a state of X by virtue of someone/something else doing that."

She basically keeps Riley from being poisoned - She basically keeps Riley from transitioning to a state of poisoned by virtue of someone/something else other than Riley doing that.

The present and past participle forms of verbs are often involved in non-verbal functions (called verbals), such as participles and gerunds - therefore they won't follow the pattern of being preceded by subject pronouns. It also means they are never the main verb of the sentence.


Examples 2 and 3 are not proper sentences. They are of a type of ellipsis called a "sentence fragment." (An ellipsis is a construction in which words are left out in the expectation of being understood.) Sentence fragments are common enough in speech, but are very infrequent in formal writing. In both your examples, the word that is left out may be "was," "is," "will be," or perhaps even a perfected form of "be." In other words, the word left out must be determined by context because the sentence fragment alone is ambiguous.

Example 1 is grammatical. The verb in the sentence is "keeps." "Being poisoned" is a passive participial phrase used as a noun. (Look up the term "gerund.") Example 4 is also grammatical, with a verb of "hear" and a gerund of "being produced."

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