Am I right or not :

Sentence (1) says that, in general and often, That acts unfairly.

Sentence (2) is saying that, right now -- some specific thing we are already talking about is not fair

Sentence (1) :That's not fair.

Sentence (2) :That's not being fair.

Can you explain them more for example are these sentences like these ones :

1) He is clever 2) He is being clever

2 Answers 2


The continuous "being" with an adjective is, as far as I can think, never idiomatic except in the sense of "behaving".*

So "that's not being fair" can only be used when "that" refers to somebody's behaviour, or the result of somebody's behaviour, and means "You/they are behaving unfairly".

*"Being" can be followed by an article when it is a participle, eg "Being bright yellow, it was easy to see". But not when it is a continuous verb, except as above, so not "It is being heavy"


In speech, when people are talking to one another, speakers can say either:

That's not fair. = That means what you impute to me or say is not fair. That comment or statement is not fair when you say it to me. It's the verb be in the third person plus an adjective. Just like: That's not funny or That's not true.


That's not being fair=from the expression: to be fair, to act in a fair way or say things that are fair.

Generally speaking, they mean exactly the same thing in conversation. There is no semantic or functional difference between them. Similarly, one could say: Are you being serious? or Are you serious?

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