How do you interpret "is always being"? Is it grammatically correct to say:

  • John is always being generous.
  • He is always being late.
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    Just a friendly tip: try to explain what you do know and why you are concerned. It will help provide a complete answer (prevent "yes/no" answers), and protect your question against close votes. Also, include the question(s) in the body of the post.
    – Em.
    Sep 6, 2018 at 9:07
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    Always is used with the present/past continuous tense to signal complaining about a frequently repeated action: He is always being late ( = I'm annoyed that he is late on many occasions)
    – Sara
    Sep 6, 2018 at 10:22
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    It does make sense in certain contexts. Imagine a wife complaining to her mom about her husband, John, being too generous to other people.
    – Sara
    Sep 6, 2018 at 10:52
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    " It doesn't make sense to complain about being generous." There is nothing in the first sentence to indicate that it's a complaint. (And even if there were, it wouldn't make the sentence ungrammatical.) Sep 6, 2018 at 17:34
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    @Sara I'm struggling to imagine anyone every saying "He is always being late". Rather one might say "He is always late". "being" in this sentence seems wrong to the ear. OTOH, "John is always being generous" sounds just fine.
    – Tedinoz
    Sep 13, 2018 at 15:05

1 Answer 1


John is always being generous.

He is always being late.

Always usually means at all times or every time. You don't use it with a verb in a progressive form in this sense. When you use it in a progressive form, it means "often/again and again", especially but not necessarily in an annoying way. If something is always happening, it happens often.

So both the sentences are grammatical. I don't think the first one shows any annoyance, however; the second one shows that. Look at the following sentence that is indicative of some sort of appreciation:

She's great - she's always laughing and smiling (The Free Dictionary).

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