being to some extent self-accelerating

ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

The differences in relative growth of various areas of scientific research have several causes. Some of these causes are completely reasonable results of social needs. Others are reasonable consequences of particular advances in science being to some extent self-accelerating.

(This comes from a reading comprehension test.)

1. Does the blue part mean 'consequences of {(particular advances in science) being self-accelerating}' or '{consequences of (particular advances in science)} which (refering to 'advances') are self-accelerating'?

2. Is 'being to some extent self-accelerating' acceptable? Would it better to delete 'being'?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    1. It is the first of your two options. I can't even understand the second one.
    2. You can't delete it. It is the main object! Other (causes) are reasonable consequences of X being Y.
    You could of course change it to avoid "being", but you would need to re-arrange things to give he same meaning: ...consequences of the fact that particular advances in science are to some extent self-accelerating.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Sorry, FF, I can't even parse that. It might work if you add a comma after "science", but that would then mean the causes are consequences of the advances (and this would be because those advances are self-accelerating). That is not what the original sentence means to me.
    I see it as saying the causes are consequences not of the advances themselves, but of their self-accelerating nature. The distinction is a fine one, admittedly.
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    2. You can't delete it. It is the main object! Other (causes) are reasonable consequences of X being Y.
    I don't understand it. I think 'being self-accelerating' is a gerund, and a gerund has four forms (i.e. doing, being done, having done and having been done). Here 'self-accelerate' is postive, so only 'consequences of advances self-accelerating (i.e. consequences of X Y-ing).' is right.

    Can you help me? Thanks!
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I don't understand your reference to something being positive, and what effect that should have on the grammar.
    Here is a simpler example: The cat ran out of the house. This was a consequence of the door being open. (though perhaps it would be more correct to say "of the door's being open")
    only 'consequences of advances self-accelerating (i.e. consequences of X Y-ing).' is right.
    I do not see "self-accelerating" in the original quote as being a verb, as you seem to be interpreting it here. I see it as an adjective. These are self-accelerating scientific advances, and a reasonable consequence of the fact that they are self-accelerating, is that these research areas are experiencing high relative growth rates.

    But now I understand why you wanted to delete "being". It would make sense to do so if "self-accelerating" were a verb here. That possibility never occurred to me, and after further thought I still don't think it is a verb.
     
    Last edited:

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I don't understand your reference to something being positive, and what effect that should have on the grammar.
    Sorry, I used the wrong word. What I should have said is 'active voice'.

    I have another question: is it correct to add a 'being' before 'developing' in the following sentence? That is, 'the picture of a nation being developing competition'. Or maybe this will lead to a different meaning?

    Emerging from the 1980 census is the picture of a nation developing more and more regional competition, as population growth in the Northeast and Midwest reaches a near standstill.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    is it correct to add a 'being' before 'developing' in the following sentence?
    No, because in this case the nation is developing competition. Here, "developing" is, as you say, an active verb, not an adjective as "self-accelerating" is (I think) in the OP. To add "being" here would not lead to a different meaning, it would lead to no meaning.
     
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