Action verbs used with "keep" sound normal, like "keep doing," "keep smiling," etc., but "being" sounds weird with it.

For example, this:

I won't talk to you if you keep being rude.

  • +1 This is one my favorite English questions- state verbs in progressive aspect. I personally think that the state verb "be" can be used in progressive aspect in a specific context. I think it is idiomatic when it is used to connotes a meaning of maintaining something like in "to keep being at the top is very difficult". So, I would say keep being rude is idiomatic and right! – Cardinal May 31 '19 at 17:09
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    "I won't talk to you if you keep being rude." is completely fine. – Ben Zotto May 31 '19 at 17:19
  • Agree with Cardinal & Ben, it sounds fine to me -- in speech (US English). In writing though (except notes, texts to friends, etc), I prob. would use a different expression. Like maybe "continue being". I suspect this is a regional/varietal thing though. – Lorel C. May 31 '19 at 17:22
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    Being silly is fun. Being intelligent is not easy. People forget what ings are for. Also works with mind, continue, stop, start etc.: Would you mind being a little quieter? – Lambie May 31 '19 at 18:07
  • @Lambie all the being examples you mentioned have action-connotation. I mean be can be both an action or a state verb depending on the context. The state verbs are almost always used in progressive aspect when they have a action-connotation IMO. In the case of " Being silly is fun" don't think that means to continually exist with the characteristics of silliness. I think it has a momentariness connotation like: A what was that? B: Nothing, it's just me being weird. However, I see what you say. – Cardinal May 31 '19 at 21:40

Semantically, "to be rude" is an action, not a state. "Be" is of course a stative verb in this construction, but the phrase as a whole implies a specific rude action rather than a general state of being. You can say "keep being rude" just as easily as you can say "keep acting rude," and they both mean the same thing. However, it might sound odder if you said "keep being tall," because "being tall" is not semantically equivalent to an action, so it's unclear what that phrase would mean. "Keep being tall" is not wholly ungrammatical, but it is unidiomatic.

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