2

The system will be reviewed due to a number of malfunctions being reported recently.

In this sentence, what does "being" indicate? Does it mean that malfunctions are currently reported?

Also, is it possible to use present continuous tense and a word "recently" together? It seems strange to me since "recently" is usually used in past tense.

This sentence comes from English test called TOEIC.

6
  • Welcome to ELL! The present participle form of be (being) can be used in place of the finite forms is/are/was/were. I agree with you that this recently indicates an action in the past. – Damkerng T. Feb 9 '14 at 12:06
  • 1
    I guess 'being reported recently' is a non-finite clause and does not carry a tense (say, present continuous) as such, but I may be mistaken. – CowperKettle Feb 9 '14 at 12:15
  • The word "reported" is past tense. – Peter Shor Feb 9 '14 at 13:27
  • 1
    @PeterShor The word reported here is the participle component of a passive construction. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 9 '14 at 13:33
  • @StoneyB: I was parsing it with being the verb, and reported an adjective (probably because of the time conflict between being reported and recently). But on further thought, I'm not sure that parsing works—it would work better if it were being recently reported. – Peter Shor Feb 9 '14 at 13:52
2

It is possible that the sentence is intended to mean that the system will be reviewed because

a number of malfunctions are being reported.

If that is what is meant, the sentence is properly formed. I think it more likely, however, that the sentence is intended to mean that the system will be reviewed because

a number of malfunctions have been reported.

In this syntactic context that would be expressed as due to a number ... having been reported.

If this is, as I think, an error, it is a common one among native speakers. We learn our grammar by example and use rather than formal instruction; and since gerund-participle clauses acting like this one as objects of prepositions are more usual in the written language than the spoken, speakers who have little practice with the written language lack sound examples to follow.

And even if it is an error, it is a fairly trivial one—one which only an alert student of the language would notice.

1
  • Thank you for your answer. I understand. The same kind of error could happen with my native language(Japanese). Thank you again for your help! – Umeco Feb 10 '14 at 0:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.