have been/have been being

Discussion in 'English Only' started by learning_grenglish, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. learning_grenglish

    learning_grenglish Senior Member

    Suppose, I am in this forum from morning to till now and still I am going to continue for a while.

    Then can I say like the following.

    "I have been in this forum since morning"
    "I have been being in this forum since morning".

    Which one is correct?

    I think, the second sentence is correct because it expresses the idea that the action is still progressive.

    Please help me.
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    "I have been" suggests that you still are in the forum; if you wanted to suggest that you have left it, you might say "I had been in the forum since morning."

    I would recommend you use the first choice, as the second is not grammatically correct.
    "I have been in this forum since this morning."
  3. BoTrojan Senior Member

    New Wilmington, PA
    USA, English
    Technically, I guess it's possible to say "have been being" in the same way that it's possible to say "I have been participating," for example, but it sounds extremely awkward to me and is not proper usage.

    What you want to say is therefore adequately expressed with the simple present perfect tense: "I have been on the forum all day" or the like.
  4. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    I would underscore that "I have been on this forum since morning" and "I have been on this forum since this morning" are quite acceptable, though.
  5. learning_grenglish

    learning_grenglish Senior Member

  6. Trisia

    Trisia mod de viață

    Different context, dear forer@ :D

    And I would have said on back then, too :)
  7. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    The answers are the same as in your "have been/have been being" post of yesterday, LG. I'm uncertain why you would want to use "being" in this way. Your first sentence expresses the idea that you attribute to your second sentence ie. that the action is still progressive. If I said:

    "I have been at work since 8:00 A.M."

    why would I have to stipulate "I have been being at work since 8:00 A.M."?
  8. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    This is why context is important. In the thread you linked, I wrote: "I think 'in' is a good choice for the specific phrase you cited in the original post."

    The in/on question is a matter of taste, almost (but there are subtle nuances); I'm almost inclined to say that I switched the preposition subconsciously. In addition, the whole virtual/Internet world makes for additional confusion. (See this thread.)

    In your example, our answers were predicated on the assumption that you had been accessing the forum throughout the time period mentioned.
  9. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    You cannot duplicate the verb "to be" in this contruction. "Have been being" simplifies to "have been".
  10. Texas Viejo Senior Member

    Dallas, Texas
    USA English
    Be almost never takes the progressive.

    Exceptions: "John, stop being silly!" "Mary is just being her usual chatty self."

    I am in the forum, as I might be involved in a game. Not on. However, if one is filmed as part of a TV show, then one appears on TV, though the picture may appear to be in the TV set. Also, there's a current slang expression, "I'm on it" - I'm on top of the situation.

  11. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    The problem is not the progressive per se. It's the present perfect progressive.
  12. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    As I think I've said elsewhere, the use of the continuous/progressive form in this sentence doesn't add anything new to the meaning. Therefore, there is no point in using an awkward phrase if you can say the same in a simpler way.

    This doesn't mean the continuous never changes the meaning. Of course, it does. But not here. Not with be and in the present perfect.

    She's being chatty :tick:
    She's been chatting all day :tick:
    She's been being chattty all day - :(

    As you can see, the problem is not with the tense itself. Otherwise sentence #2 would be equally wrong. It's the juxtaposition of "being" with "been" that makes the listener cringe.
  13. domangelo Senior Member

    United States English
    You cannot say "I have been being" in English, at least not in normal usage. "Being" is a state of existence without beginning or end. For existence with beginnning or end, we use "exist" . I have been existing. But even that has a very limited use.
  14. Texas Viejo Senior Member

    Dallas, Texas
    USA English

    Verbs called statives (and the copula is one of them) do not ordinarily take the progressive-continuative.

    For instance, "I've been knowing him a long time" occurs in English, but only in a non-standard dialect.

    See discussion at:



  15. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Counterexamples such as the one you gave in your previous post:

    "Mary is just being her usual chatty self."
    are so frequent in everyday speech that it's hard for me to agree with that statement.
  16. Texas Viejo Senior Member

    Dallas, Texas
    USA English

    Exceptions exist because different senses of the verb exist.

    "John's been being a jerk all evening" is awkward but acceptable. *John is being a doctor* and *John is being tall* are not.

    Similarly, some senses of the verb "to have" allow the progressive: "Mary was having her baby while John was having an epileptic seizure." Others do not: *Ellen is having a new car.* *My dog is having fleas.*

    Again, "I've been knowing John a long time," is a dialectal variant of English. *I've been knowing that stative verbs don't take the progressive for a long time* is not.


  17. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    That's precisely why using them can be a humoristic device.
    (Movie A Hard Day's Night)
  18. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    U.K. English
    I've been here since 12
    I've been working here since 12
    I've known you since 1999
    I've been playing football since I was little.
    All of the above are in present perfect continuous. The difference is that work and play are action verbs, whereas know and be are not action verbs.
  19. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In other words, for stative verbs the present perfect continuous coincides with the present perfect. This agrees with what I said above: "I have been being" --> "I have been".
  20. Texas Viejo Senior Member

    Dallas, Texas
    USA English

    Merci, Madame, I needed the laugh.

    Of course that's the problem with Miss Fidditch. The minute she says, "One can't say that in English," someone will come up with a context in which one can say that - or already has said that, in a movie.

    I can easily think of a context in which "John is a doctor" can take the progressive: "Don't pay any attention to John's explain-the-universe attitude; he's just being a doctor." And of course, "Orville has been being right all along" (which is not equivalent to "Orville has been right all along") makes perfectly good sense.


  21. wster Senior Member

    Somewhere in Grevisse
    American and Canadian English
    I stumbled upon this very old thread and felt like making a couple of points.

    Grammatically, there is nothing wrong with ""I have been being in this forum since morning".

    There is no rule of grammar that collapses "have been being" into "have been".

    But why would somebody say "have been being"?

    Lots of reasons actually.

    First of all, there is a whole subject of ontology, which is the study of being. What is it to be? What is being? What is not being? Many books have been written on it from Parmenides to Plato to Heidegger to Sartre. If you get into a discussion about the subject, it can easily turn out that "have been" is completely wrong and "have been being" is absolutely correct. This may not be everybody's cup of tea, but then neither is quantum mechanics. And just physicists are not constrained by what is familiar and typical, neither are philosophers. Moreover, some of the books on ontology are not of the continental existential amorphous variety, but rather of the hard headed extremely technical logical kind. After all, every logic(ian) needs an ontology.

    Second, one may employ "have been being" for parallel development within a sentence. For example: "I have been eating lots of ice cream, growing fat, and being happy." Or again: "I have been eating lots of ice cream, I have been growing fat, and I have been being happy."

    But what of "I have been being in this forum"? Well, typically one would just say, "I have been in this forum", and if one were to just join a conversation by blurting out, "I have been being in this forum", then the listener would be right to find it odd because there is no ready explanation for why one didn't just say "I have been in this forum". But this account of the oddness is pragmatic, not semantic or syntactic or grammatical. Fill in a rich context and "I have been being in this forum" becomes perfectly reasonable. Suppose the poster had been in the forum while suffering numerous internet disconnections. Finally he greets some friends. He writes, "I have been being in the forum all day". Then he pauses for the perfect comic timing. Then he adds, "And I have been not being in the forum all day. Damed unreliable internet service provider I have." OK, maybe not that funny, but fill in some more context and you can make it funnier.

    "have been being" pragmatically unexpected, but grammatically/semantically/syntactically sound.
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  22. LanguageandI New Member

    English - America
    The parallel structure that you offered isn't so; "eat," though it can be both trans- and intransitive, was used transitively in your case, so the following verbs are considered as such, thus leading us to assume that you are growing fat as you would some type of vegetable, and that "happy," an adjective, is acting as a direct object of "being." Of course, I understand that that wasn't your intention, but your parallel structure contains differing sentence types: types 5 and 3. Aspects removed, your parallel structure is as follows (meaning somewhat intact): *I eat ice scream, am fat, and am happy.

    I do agree that the initial sentence is grammatically sound, but there's an overextension of unintended meaning. In common speak, I'd picture a few raised brows in response to someone saying "I'm being" without any further clarification, regardless of an indication of place.

    Also, "have been being" is the present-perfect-continuous aspect of a passive construction. So the mentioned sentence could be missing its main verb. "I have been being (hassled) in this forum since morning (by grammar nerds)."

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