3

I really get confused about when being used as a gerund and when is it used as a participle?

  1. I being angry is not a good thing.

  2. My being angry is not a good thing.

  3. Me being angry is not a good thing.

This is what I think:

In (1) being acts as a participle.
In (2) being acts as a noun.
In (3) being acts as a participle.

I was reading this: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/2625/when-is-a-gerund-supposed-to-be-preceded-by-a-possessive-adjective-determiner

Like nohat said in that question we can't use nominative (I) as the subject of a gerund in a gerund clause and can't use genitive (my) in participle clause.

All three look fine to me. Please explain which one is correct and why.

2
  • My answer addresses your question, don't believe the downvotes. I am getting a bit tired of downvotes from people who have never taught English and don't know the grammar.
    – Lambie
    May 12 at 17:02
  • No: "being" is a 'gerund-participle' verb in all three, but 1. is ungrammatical. Gerund-participial clauses functioning as subject take either genitive or accusative case pronouns, the only difference being that the genitive case is more formal.
    – BillJ
    May 12 at 17:03
4

*[1] I being angry is not a good thing.

[2] My being angry is not a good thing.

[3] Me being angry is not a good thing.

No: "being" is a 'gerund-participle' verb in all three examples, but 1. is ungrammatical. Gerund-participial clauses in subject function take either genitive or accusative case pronouns, the only difference being that the genitive case is more formal.

It's tempting to call "being" in [2] a noun since the characteristic use of the genitive case is to mark the dependent of a noun, not a verb. Nevertheless, that "being" is a verb is evident from the possibility of it being modified by an adverb (but not an adjective), as in "my constantly being angry", and adverbs do not (normally) modify nouns.

Note that traditional grammar recognises gerunds and present participles as separate forms in the verb paradigm, but modern grammar simply combines both ing forms, calling the verbs 'gerund-participles', and the clauses they head 'gerund-participials'

4
  • If according to @BillJ, 'being' is a gerund-participle verb then why can't it use nominative pronoun 'I' ?
    – Rocky
    May 12 at 18:38
  • @Lambie if 'being' is a noun here then 1 doesn't make any sense. 'I being'
    – Rocky
    May 12 at 18:47
  • @Rocky Reread my answer. I is not grammatical in your No. 1) example. I made that very clear. This is what I said: To apply this to yourself, use my or me, not I. If you are interested in actually learning this, study my examples.
    – Lambie
    May 12 at 23:24
  • @Lambie Are we two the only one wondering if we need to learn English again from the beginning? I can't seem to internalize other people's explanations.
    – Airforce
    2 days ago
1

Being angry is not a good thing. [being = gerund noun and the subject of the sentence].

To apply this to yourself, use my or me, not I. See the explanation below.

  • My being angry is not a good thing. [same thing, except it refers to you; formal]

  • Me being angry is not a good thing. [same thing, refers to you, informal]

Use possessive adjectives for formal constructions, use possessive pronouns for informal ones.

My, your, his/her/its their, our, your = formal
Me, you, he/she/it them, us, you = Informal

DIFFERENCE (another example):

  • Their being late was not a problem. [formal]
  • Them being late was not a problem [informal]

Being is a noun (gerund) in all those cases. It is not a participle, except in form but not in function.

  • Being rich is great!

  • My being late is not likely. [formal]

  • Me being silly is very possible. [informal]

  • Being a clueless downvoter is not a good thing.

  • Being human is complicated.

  • Playing is a good thing.

  • Your playing at the concert is not a good idea.

Please note: any verb in English, just about, can be made into a noun gerund.

1
  • When it comes to grammar, this explanation is the most genuine one. 'Possessive + gerund' is a must, no exception for it, unless you are talking about spoken English.
    – Airforce
    2 days ago

You must log in to answer this question.

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