09 May 2011

Being = Wrong

The word “being” is hands-down the most dangerous word on both the Fixing Sentences portion of the SAT (not Error-Identification!) and on ACT English.

In fact, the appearance of the word “being” in an answer choice is virtually guaranteed to make that answer incorrect.

This is the case for a couple of reasons. First, “being” is a gerund (verb + -ING). Gerunds are not verbs, and they cannot be used to replace verbs.
Not a sentence: Rome being a beautiful and historical city.

Sentnece: Rome is a beautiful and historical city.
Any phrase that contains only a gerund is a fragment and is never correct in formal written English. Not on the SAT, not on the ACT, not in real life.

Even when “being” is grammatically acceptable, it still has a tendency to make things kind of clunky and awkward.
On the SAT, the phrase “being that” should be replaced by “because:”

Awkward: Being that Marco has studied Italian for five years, he can converse with his relatives in Rome.

Clear: Because Marco has studied Italian for five years, he can converse with his relatives in Rome.
And the phrase “because of being” should be replaced by the subject and the conjugated verb:

Awkward: Because of being fluent in Italian, Marco can converse with his relatives in Rome.

Clear: Because he is fluent in Italian, Marco can converse with his relatives in Rome.

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