Shashi Tharoor, an indian politician and a former International diplomat, in his interview to Hasan Minaj for a Netflix show said," we have had a party in power for the last four and half years which in many ways, has represented a radical departure from some aspects of what India has always been seen as being about".

I can't understand why he used 'about' after 'being'.

And another question which is related to the 'being' topic is

I don't want being talked about.

I don't want being laughed at.

How can someone be talked or laughed these are intransitive verbs we can't use 'being+past participle' here as they can't be in passive.

1 Answer 1


Your last two sentences are ungrammatical; it should be "I don't want to be talked about/laughed at".

Yes, talk and laugh are intransitive, but the phrasal verbs talk about and laugh at are transitive.

Mr Tharoor's sentence is a bit convoluted, but he is using be about in this sense. He implies that India has always been seen as 'being about' certain political attitudes (regarding them as important), but the current government has very different attitudes.

  • Yeah perhaps the sentences were 'I hate being laughed at/ talked about' And, Phrasal verbs are also transitive and intransitive? There's classification like that in phrasal verbs as well. So generally phrasal verbs are(verb+prep.) And preposition takes object if it's needed. So does it mean mostly phrasal verbs are transitive in nature?
    – RADS
    Oct 14, 2021 at 10:25
  • 1
    Here is some information about phrasal verbs. Yes, I think most of them are transitive. Oct 14, 2021 at 10:46
  • 1
    Actually, I think the only reason most phrasal verbs might be transitive is that most verbs are transitive in the first place. Phrasal verb usually involve a preposition, and if any given verb+preposition combination wasn't a phrasal verb, that preposition would normally be associated with an object being transitively referenced by the verb. As for example, transitive He picked up a glass of beer (he lifted it), as opposed to the intransitive phrasal verb He picked up after a beer (his demeanour improved). Oct 14, 2021 at 12:39

You must log in to answer this question.

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