My first question is whether

1) The students who were well-organized passed the exam


2) [reduced adjective clause] The students, being well-organized, passed the exam.

If yes, my second question is whether the commas (i.e. ", being well-organized ," ) are compulsory in no. 2 (Will it be grammatically wrong if I dont use the commas in no. 2) ?

I understand that a defining clause is used in no. 1) and hence no comma there; but I wonder why the commas are required in its reduced adjective clause construction?

1 Answer 1


The commas do make a difference. In the first sentence, the relative clause ("who were well-organized") is not surrounded by commas, so it restricts "the students". That implies that not all of the students were well-organized. In the second sentence, the phrase "being well-organized" is surrounded by commas, so it is nonrestrictive. That means that it describes all of the students.

No, you can not remove the commas in the second sentence, because "being" is used merely to describe its referent. For example:

Correct: My children, being 18 years old, can vote.
Incorrect: My children being 18 years old can vote.

However, "being" + predicate adjective doesn't need commas if "being" means "acting" or "behaving". For example:

Some students are being polite today, while others are being rude. The students being polite will receive a reward.
The manager yelled at all of the employees being irresponsible.

The difference is somewhat subtle; I suggest you pay close attention whenever you come across one of these "being" constructions.

  • 1
    @MarclnManhatten " The students being polite will receive a reward." -- this is a similar construction but the commas are not needed since the 'being polite' implying ' acting/behaving polite'; am I right?
    – Airforce
    Dec 2, 2021 at 13:54
  • @MarclnManhatten Very nice explanation and informative too. So, in my given example sentences, the 2 has a different meaning than the 1 and hence the adjective clause in the 1 (and in similar implying sentence) should NOT be reduced since the ' ,being well-organized, " in 2 will imply ALL STUDENTS instead of a particular group (i.e., only who were all organized); am I right?
    – Airforce
    Dec 2, 2021 at 15:41
  • @Airforce Yes, in fact, you could add commas to 1) and alter its meaning. "The students, who were well-organized, passed the exam." —now the meaning is identical to 2). Dec 2, 2021 at 18:43
  • @MarclnManhatten Is your example sentence, "The students being polite will receive a reward." reduced from 1) "The students who are being polite will receive a reward.", or 2) "The students who are polite will receive a reward." , or are both 1) and 2) interchangeable with your example sentence?
    – Airforce
    Dec 2, 2021 at 19:03
  • @Airforce Yes, what Andy Bonner said. Dec 2, 2021 at 22:24

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