I generally see and have a difficulty in understanding of usages "as" and "being". The question is about the latter. When I was glancing at Oxford's learner dictionary for the meaning of masochistic, I read the following:

getting sexual pleasure from being physically hurt

Why is the "being" usage necessary there? What if it wasn't? I know only the usage of "being" with passive continuous tenses, nothing else. What is the usage mentioned as known? Are there any other usages?

2 Answers 2


"From" is a preposition, so it needs to be followed by a noun. Therefore, "being physically hurt" is a gerund.

There are other ways to say it without "being" such as:

  • The get passive, as a gerund (note that "being physically hurt" is the regular passive):

    ...from getting physically hurt

  • A regular noun (as is used in Oxford's other dictionary):

    ...from physical pain

    (Although it is not grammatically incorrect to say "...from physical hurt", it sounds off, possibly because "physical pain" is the overwhelmingly more popular way to say it.)

  • Sir, it has been some time that the post has answered. On this link, written that In addition to being connectors, prepositions can also act as information-givers when they form prepositional phrases.. Even if connector is a noun, in addition to takes being. Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 12:11

It may help you to consider the sentence without 'being'. (Thanks for using such a colourful example by the way!)

Getting sexual pleasure from physical hurt.

Physical becomes an adjective describing 'hurt', rather than an adverb describing 'being'.

The direction, so to speak, of the hurt is no longer clear (what is done to whom). Who has to be hurt for the masochist to gain pleasure? It is not clear. It could be other people, it could be the masochist themselves.

Knowing what a masochist is, we know that would be an inaccurate definition. Mascochists are specifically people who enjoy pain inflicted on themselves. "Being hurt" places the masochist in the, ahem, passive position.* The action is being done to them.

So, what you are seeing when you look at these constructions with being verbed (Subject + be + present participle of "to be" + past participle) is the present continuous tense in the passive voice.

I am being tortured [by someone else].

He is being tortured [by someone else].

We are being tortured [by someone else].

etc. The torture is being inflicted, happily and willingly or not, on the subject of the sentence by an often implied and sometimes explicitly mentioned other person.

(*One might almost say subordinate, if one wanted to belabour a pun in a way that is grammatically misleading).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .