I got this rarely used sentence from the below link-


She may have been being interviewed for a job.

What are the other ways by which you can express this idea, but still with the same meaning?

  • The verb in the uppermost clause is "may". It is the only tensed verb in the sentence. All the other verbs are located in embedded subordinate clauses: She may [have [been [being [interviewed for a job]]]].
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 18:16
  • 99.9% of native speakers would avoid that construction and use maybe or perhaps: Perhaps she was being interviewed..
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 18:16
  • 1
    Your edit has changed the topic of your question. Which means that posting my last comment was a waste of time!
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 18:51
  • BillJ - No .It wasn't. I understood the answer. Thankyou. That's no more a doubt for me. So I was trying to change the question into something else. Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


This form is not so rare as one might think.

What was she doing when you entered the room?

To be interviewed for a job: see passive below

She may have been being interviewed for a job. [when some x occurred or was occurring]

What were they saying when the news of the accident was announced?

To be questioned by [someone]: see passive below

They may have been being questioned by the police at that point.

The passives: being questioned, being interviewed, being told, being groomed (dogs), for example, easily lend themselves to: may have been + being been (action verb in passive). This is common in speech.

There are no "other ways" to express these ideas. It is used to express something that may have been being done at a particular time in the past.

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