Being chosen, however, is probably not enough.

May this be understood as a complete sentence? Chosen appears to be the verb, but then what is its subject? In this sentence, is being a participle combining with the verb chosen to construct a gerund phrase, a verb participle that may function as a subject noun phrase?

  • Are you asking if "being" is the subject here? It is not. Neither 'being' nor 'chosen' are finite verb forms - I don't think that such forms take a subject. But a sentence is "a complete unit of meaning". I would call this a non-finite clause, which can be only a subordinate clause, not a main or an independent one.
    – Lucky
    May 28, 2015 at 2:21
  • 1
    @Lucky Yes, but non-finite clauses can be subjects! May 29, 2015 at 13:47
  • 1
    @Araucaria quite right. I (mis)understood that the OP was asking whether "being" is the subject of "being chosen", I didn't get that the question refers to the role of "being chosen" as a whole (I posted before the question was edited).
    – Lucky
    May 29, 2015 at 14:07

2 Answers 2


Being chosen, however, is probably not enough.

Yes this can be considered a complete sentence without any problem.

Being chosen is a gerund phrase and is the subject of the sentence.

A gerund phrase will begin with a gerund, an ing word, and will include other modifiers and/or objects. Gerund phrases always function as nouns, so they will be subjects, subject complements, or objects in the sentence.


however is an adverb.

is is the copular verb.

probably not enough is a complement.

The other way of writing this sentence is -

It is probably not enough to be chosen.

N.B As pointed out by @snailboat, a gerund phrase always functions like a Noun Phrase, not like a noun.

They don't appear with determiners: *A being chosen, however, is not enough.

They don't take adjectival modification: *Quick being chosen, however, is not enough.

They don't have noun-like morphology: *Being chosens, however, are not enough.


The verb

In this sentence, is being a participle combining with the verb chosen to construct a gerund phrase, a verb participle that may function as a subject noun phrase?

Yes, exactly. Notice that "however" is set off (that is, surrounded) by commas, which means it's parenthetical (senses 2 and 3) and can safely be ignored when determining the basic structure of the sentence. With that in mind, and given that "chosen" is part of the subject, you are again correct in the comment below: In the sentence in question,

Being chosen, however, is probably not enough.

"Is" is the verb.

English sentences present some tricky problems, but analyzing them gets easier with practice. You've done a good job with this one.

The part after the verb

Now I'd like to answer your further question in the same comment below asking what the object of the sentence is.

This is another slightly tricky concept. The verb "to be" ("is" in this case) is what's called a "linking verb." What this means is that the subject is linked by the verb to something else that comes after the verb. The something else that it's linked to is called the subject complement.

If you are something, the thing that you are isn't really receiving any action by you. You've merely been renamed or described. This is in contrast to an action verb like "to hit." In the sentence "You hit a ball.", the ball is receiving your action, which is why the ball is called a direct object. A subject complement can be either a noun or pronoun, as in

      "This car is a sedan."

or an adjective, as in

      "This car is fast."

and it comes in exactly the same place in the sentence that a direct object would occupy. If you look up "enough" in the dictionary, you'll discover that it acts as a pronoun in this case (thank you, Man_From_India). So "enough" is the subject complement.

The comment below stating that the sentence doesn't need an object is correct. It doesn't need a subject complement either, but it does have one. Therefore the sentence without modifiers is

Being chosen is enough.

The main point to realize is that what follows the verb can't be an object, because the verb "is" is a linking verb.

You might be thinking, "Who cares what you call the thing after the verb, whether it's an 'object' or a 'subject complement'?" This can be especially important when the subject complement is a pronoun, because personal pronouns have two cases, subjective and objective. For example,

      "The professor taught her."

is a correct sentence, but

      "The professor is her."

is not correct. Instead, it's correct to say

      "The professor is she."

because "she" is the subjective case, just as you'd say

      "She is the professor."

It should be pointed out, as Araucaria does below, that many native speakers would be more comfortable with the sentence, "The professor is her." However, upon answering the telephone, when asked "May I speak to <name>?", the response "This is she" is widely used.

(But what about the "probably not," you ask? This phrase could be analyzed a few different ways, and I don't feel qualified to write authoritatively about it. Some helpful partial answers can be found here, where I continued this line of inquiry.)

  • I may guess, maybe, is may seem a verb. Maybe being chosen seems a gerund phrase, a subject noun phrase, maybe is may seem this verb. I may not get where an object may seem. Maybe there may seem no object and this may seem maybe not a complete sentence?
    – saySay
    May 28, 2015 at 2:40
  • Please don't put questions in your answers, rhetorical or otherwise. May 28, 2015 at 8:01
  • @saySay: you guess correctly that "is" is the verb. There is no "object"; there does not need to be an object to make this a complete sentence. btw: you overuse "may seem". Instead, try "is", "seem to be" or "be". Thus: --> Maybe "is" is the verb. "Being chosen" seems to be a gerund phrase, a subject noun phrase. I don't get where there's an object—there doesn't seem to be one, so perhaps this is not a complete sentence. <-- May 28, 2015 at 8:13
  • I may not get subjunctive cases. So Being chosen is gets dictated a complete sentence? And I guess is, a copulative (linking[?]) verb requests no argument after it, no object? So, may it not request anything after it and a subject complement requests a noun or adjective, what may you dictate a grammatical function of probably not enough? It may not seem a subject complement, (not an adjective or noun), (three adverbs in a series[?]). May you dictate it mostly a complement, not a subject complement?
    – saySay
    May 29, 2015 at 1:37
  • @snailboat please help here. Being chosen is enough. In this sentence enough is a pronoun and a subject complement. But when there is a not before enough what parts of speech is it? Being chosen is not enough., what is the parts of speech of enough in this sentence? Sometimes I feel not enough is an adverb phrase, but then I see that it's a complement to the subject. Even in that negative sentence enough is a pronoun, why not before a pronoun? :O So getting confused. Help needed! May 29, 2015 at 5:05

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