"A human being will not mean till he is educated and intelligent."

I copied this sentence from a magazine.this had been written as motto.My questions are,

1. can't I use 'being a human' instead of 'a human being'?.
for example,
Being a human will not mean till he is educated and intelligent.

2.Here,Is the gerund clause 'a human being' similar to 'being a human"?

  • This motto might be a pun, a play on words, so analyzing the grammar might be hard, and maybe not relevant to normal English use. (Or maybe you missed a word when copying it down?)
    – Dan Getz
    Oct 22, 2014 at 13:00
  • 2
    @Dan getz No,I have correctly copied this.
    – Dinusha
    Oct 22, 2014 at 13:07
  • 1
    It looks like either it was written by a non-native speaker, or somebody made a mistake.
    – user230
    Oct 22, 2014 at 14:11
  • @snailboat Yeah,the one who wrote it may not be a native speaker.but I'm sure he writes English magazines.
    – Dinusha
    Oct 22, 2014 at 14:40
  • 1
    I agree with Dan here The original sentence sounds very ungrammatical and doesn't sound proper English to me.
    – Leo
    Oct 22, 2014 at 15:52

3 Answers 3


"A human being will not mean till he is educated and intelligent."

That sentence means nothing to me. It needs something more, such as 'anything' after 'mean'.

You can generally use 'human(s)' instead of 'human being(s).

It would be better today to use 'he/she is' or 'they are' instead of 'he is. Human beings are not excusively male. If you use 'they are', it's better to make the subject plural: 'Human beings'.

  • If I would use 'they are' instead of 'he is',the subject must be 'Human beings'(as you've said) or 'Humans being'?
    – Dinusha
    Oct 22, 2014 at 13:12
  • @Dinusha Here, "being" is used as a noun meaning "living thing" or "existing thing". (We could call aliens from space "beings from another planet".) Here, "human" is used as an adjective that modifies "beings". (What kind of beings? Human beings.)
    – apsillers
    Oct 22, 2014 at 14:33

The word "being" in the phrase "a human being" is almost always a noun meaning more or less "a thing that exists", not the gerund form of "be".

So "a human being" means "a being which is human", not "being a human".

If there was a comma before the word being:

A human, being ...

Then "being" would be understood as the gerund form of "be".

The sentence as a whole should not be taken literally as a normal grammatical sentence, because it is a poetic play on words. For example, the verb "mean" is not used without an object or adverb, but in this motto, it is.


A human being could be anyone human. The nature of that human being could be loving or could be brutal. There are brutal human beings in the world.

So i guess the message writer here wants to convey is that 'if you are a human being, then be like one' (Dont be brutal, cruel etc towards others)

Your example

A human being will not mean till he is educated and intelligent.

This sentence might be modified in the following way -

The meaning of 'a human being' in the true sense of the word will not justify unless he is educated and intelligent.

Another example

  1. Should we really call the terrorists as human beings ? (They are not worthy to be called as human beings)

On the other hand

Being human is Awakening the humility, compassion, kindness, love and care within you towards mankind. It is willing to extend a hand to help the needy in the society.

For your reference -

There is a big NGO which is named 'Being Human' run by the veteran Indian actor Salman Khan.

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