Is this sentence grammatically correct?

Being an intelligent girl she tried to argue with him

or should it be:

Been an intelligent girl she tried to argue with him

and what is the difference?


A sentence of the form

VERB participle (+ complements), SUBJECT + PREDICATE.

implies an underlying clause of the form

Because SUBJECT BE VERB participle (+ complements), SUBJECT + PREDICATE.

The construction BE VERB past participle is passive. Intransitive verbs like BE cannot be cast into the passive voice, and Been an intelligent girl, representing Because she was been an intelligent girl is impossible. Only the present participle can be used here.

If however, what you mean is Because she had been something-or-other, the auxiliary HAVE is allowed to be cast as a present participle; the been here is the complement of HAVE, beyond the scope of the rule. That doesn’t really fit this particular context, but this works:

Having been a debater in high school, she tried to argue with him.

  • I am just trying to say "Because she is smart, she tried to argue with his opinion". So I guess "Being" would be the correct use here. Thanks. – OutFall Feb 20 '14 at 17:55
  • @N0ir Exactly so. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 20 '14 at 17:56
  • @StoneyB Do you explain things in the same way on both the sites ELL and ELU while answering the questions? Though I learn a lot from your answers, a bit simple (learners'?) language could help us even better. The recent example is of N0ir's! – Maulik V Feb 21 '14 at 12:44
  • @MaulikV That is a problem often discussed here, and one that worried me deeply in the site's early days. Here is how I have resolved it: On the one hand, simplification is essential for beginners. They need 'baby rules' - rules which will serve to get them to a higher level. As learners advance, however, baby rules obstruct understanding; many of the problems raised here are created by oversimplification. The learners who raise these problems are typically university or graduate students, highly educated in their own tongues, and they are capable of following complex arguments ... – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 21 '14 at 13:41
  • ... The great advantage of the SE format is that both baby rules and sophisticated treatments can be provided to answer the same question. That allows a 'division of labour'. Others here do much better than I can at providing answers which meet the specific, immediate needs of the beginning or intermediate learner. That's not my 'voice'. What I'm good at is answers for advanced learners, with more complex rules which can be generalized across many situations. That way, at least in theory, everybody who comes here gets the answer best suited to their understanding. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 21 '14 at 13:55

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