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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: How to Use BEING - Passive voice, Gerund, Participle Clause + Useful Vocabulary & Practice Exercises

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Being is an important word in English.

You will find it in many different situations, especially in written English.

Learning how to use this word will help you to write with better style and clarity.

So, in this lesson, I will teach you the four main uses ofbeingincluding in the

passive voice, as a gerund, in participle clauses, and in continuous tenses.

There are exercises later in the lesson to help you practice, and theres also some

useful vocabulary.

So, lets start.

The first use ofbeingis to talk about a persons temporary behavior.

Heres an example: I went to visit a friend of mine one time.

Hes married and has a son whos about seven or eight years old.

When I went to their house, the boy was busy playing video games, so he didnt sayhi

to me, he didnt want to talk, he just wanted to keep playing.

So, his mother said this to him: “Sam, you are being rude to our guest.”

(Come here and say hi to him.)

Notice that she said, “you are being rudenotyou are rude”.

If she had saidYoure rude”, that would meanYoure a rude person.

Always.”

But here, shes sayingyoure normally a good, polite kid.

But right now, youre being rude.”

So, thats a temporary behavior, and she wants him to change that.

So, the kid put away his video game controller; he came and saidHi, how are you?” and

we had a nice little chat.

Now, here, we see the present continuous tense because this is exactly what Sams mother

said, in her own words.

But if you want to report it indirectly, you can use the past continuous tense: “Sams

mother told him that he was being rude to the guest.”

So, “you are beingchanges tohe was being”.

When talking about the present, we say, “I am”, “you/we/they are”, “he/she/it

is”, and for the past, “I was, He/She/It wasandYou/We/They were”.

Heres another example.

This is a conversation between a husband and wife.

The wife says, “The kitchen faucet has been dripping for a week now.

Why dont you do something about it?”

Drippingmeans that water is falling off in drops.

Usually when that happens, it makes an annoying, unpleasant sound.

The husband says: “Yeah, yeah, Ill take care of it.”

And the wife responds: “Its driving me nuts.”

(thats an idiom, it means its really irritating to me, Im going mad because

of it).

Dont be so lazy.

Fix that faucet.”

Now, this underlined sentence can be improved usingbeing”.

Can you rewrite that sentence?

Well, she can say: “Quit being so lazy and fix that faucet.”

Thats a very common thing to say.

Stop being so lazywould also be correct.

At this point, the husband might ask: “Are you saying Im a lazy guy?” to which the

wife would reply: “No, Im just saying right now, youre BEING lazy.

So, could you please stop being lazy and fix the faucet?”

Here are some more common sentences: Quit being such a baby.

(If a friend of yours is always whining and complaining) Youre just being silly.

Why is she being so stubborn?

(“stubbornmeans she wont change her mind, she wants to have things her way) Stop

being negative.

Learn to think positively.

That waiter was being a real jerk, so we got up and left the restaurant.

Jerkis a slang term for someone who is rude.

In all these sentences, you see thatbeingtalks about a persons temporary behavior.

Thats the first use.

The second use ofbeingis as a gerund, that means a verb form that acts as a noun.

Heres a conversation I had recently with a young student of mine named Rahul: Rahul

asked: “Teacher, what did you want to be when you were a child?”

I said: “As a child, I first wanted to be a pilot.

But as a teenager, I dreamt of being a rock star.”

Rock star means a famous singer of rock music.

Of course, I ended up becoming a teacher.”

Ended up means thats what finally happened.

Rahul asked: “Do you like being a teacher?”

I replied: “Being a teacher is a lot of hard work, but I believe its much more

rewarding than being a celebrity.”

Rewardingmeanssatisfying”.

A celebrity is a famous person.

Of course, I wouldnt mind being famous.

But fame is certainly no substitute for fulfilment.”

We see a lot ofbeingshere.

They are all gerunds.

The first isas a teenager, I dreamt of being a rock star”.

Here, “being a rock starmeans my dream was the life of a rock star.

I said that a gerund is a verb form that acts as a noun, so this gerund is used in the place

of the nounlife”.

And then Rahul asks, “Do you like being a teacher?”

That isDo you like the job of a teacher?”

And I say, “Being a teacherthat isthe job of a teacher is a lot of hard work, but

I believe its much more rewarding than being a celebrity”, than thelife of

a celebrityagain.

So, Im saying that the job of a teacher is more fulfilling than the fancy life of

a celebrity.

Of course, I wouldnt mind being famous”, that is, “I wouldnt mind having fame.

But that fame is no substitute for fulfilment.”

So, then I asked Rahul: “What do you want to become?”

He said, “I want to be an aerospace engineer.

I have a LOT of studying to do.”

So, I reminded him, “OK, but being a good student doesnt mean you have to study all

the time.

Its good to get out in nature or go hang out with your friends once in a while.”

So, this is the second use ofbeing” – as a gerund.

The third and a very common use is in the passive voice.

I remember when I went on vacation with my family one time, we checked into our hotel,

but the room wasnt ready yet.

The receptionist said this to me: “Your room is being prepared, sir.

Itll be ready in just a few minutes.”

As it turned out, they took almost an hour, for which time, we had to wait in the lobby.

But look at that first sentence: “Your room is being prepared.”

This is the same as sayingOur housekeeping staff are preparing your room right now.”

This is an active voice sentence.

Of course, the focus doesnt need to be on the staff (on the room attendants who are

doing the cleaning); the room itself is the important thing here.

And so, the receptionist said, “Your room is being prepared.”

Thats a better sentence.

Now, looking back at the experience, I can say, “We had to wait in the lobby for close

to an hour because our room was being prepared.”

This is another passive voice sentence, but its in the past continuous tense.

Sois beinghas changed towas being”.

One more example.

I read this one in a novel recently: “As they were driving home late that night, Shirley

leaned in towards her sister (who was behind the wheel)” the wheel is the steering wheel,

so behind the wheel means her sister was driving, “and whispered, “I think we are being

followed.”

So, maybe she saw another car in the rearview mirror and that car had been following them

for a while.

This sentence means the same thing as in the active voice: “I think somebody is following

us.”

Now, lets convert this to the past tense.

Shirley told her sister that she thought theyand then how would you finish this

sentence?

She thought they were being followed.”

– “are beinghas becomewere being”.

So, usingbeingin the passive voice is simply a matter of choosingam/is/are/was

or wereand then puttingbeingafter it followed by the main verb likeprepare

orfollowin the past participle (or V3) form.

Well see more examples in the exercise later.

The final use ofbeingis in participle clauses.

Dont worry if you dont know what that means.

Take this example: “Im afraid of heights.

So, I try to avoid going up tall buildings.”

Theres a little clue for us here: notice the verbaminI am afraid”: this

is a form of the verbbe”.

So, we can actually connect these two sentences in a better way: “Being afraid of heights,

I try to avoid going up tall buildings.”

That first partBeing afraid of heightsis called a participle clause; in this example,

think of it like sayingbecause Im afraid of heights.”.

The participle clause makes your writing look more compact and stylish.

OK, heres another one, said by a different person: “Im not afraid of heights.

So, I have no problem going up to the top floors of tall buildings or even climbing

mountains.”

Can you rewrite this withbeing”?

Well, you can say, “Not being afraid of heights, I have no problem going up to the

top floors and so on.”

Heres another example: “Mr. Adams, who is an avid reader, maintains a huge personal

library of books and periodicals on various subjects.”

An avid reader is someone who loves books and reads a lot.

How can we rewrite this withbeing”?

Well: “Mr. Adams, being an avid reader, maintains a huge personal library of books

and periodicals.”

Notice how the relative clause withwhointerrupts the sentence to give information

about the noun Mr. Adams.

In the same way, the participle clause withbeingcomes in the middle of the sentence

and gives information.

But the advantage with this is that you can move it to the beginning of the sentence:

Being an avid reader, Mr. Adams maintains a huge personal library.”

It means the same thing as the original sentence.

Now, you might be thinking, in the first example: “Being afraid of heights...” can we move

that participle clause to the middle of the sentence?

Well, you can say, “I, being afraid of heights, try to avoid tall buildings.”

grammatically, its OK, but it doesnt sound very natural in this case.

So, were just going to leave it like that.

OK, if youre ready, lets now do some practice exercises.

Alright we've looked at the four main uses of being and now we're going to try to put

that into practice I have 13 exercises for you here in each one I'm going to give you

a sentence and I want you to rewrite that using being right here's the first one all

fruits and vegetables need to be washed thoroughly before we eat them I want you to rewrite this

underlined part using being so how would you do it

you can say all fruits and vegetables need to be washed thoroughly before being eaten

now you can say before being eaten by us but that's not necessary this is a passive voice

construction and this is a much better sentence all right let's move on to exercise number

two you're going to need a couple of vocabulary items for this one the first is socialize

to socialize means to spend time with other people talking in a friendly way like how

you would do in a party when you mingle with a lot of people an extrovert is a confident

person who enjoys social situations the opposite is introvert a person that doesn't like to

mingle with others someone who likes to be by themselves all alone all right so here's

the sentence I love socializing meeting new people and doing group activities that's because

I'm an extrovert so rewrite this part using being okay here's the answer being an extrovert

I love socializing meeting new people and doing group activities so you see that I've

brought this sentence over here to the beginning as a participle clause using being okay exercise

number three this is the only vocabulary item you'll need for this to micromanage means

to control every little detail of an employee's work and it's usually used in a negative sense

like when a manager or a boss tries to control every little thing that a worker does and

not allowing them to work independently okay here's the sentence as a boss you have to

let your team members work independently most people don't like it when you micromanage

them so how can you rewrite this we can say as a boss you have to let your

team members work independently most people don't like being micromanaged I haven't said

being micromanaged by their boss because that's understood so writing it in the passive voice

like this allows us to leave out that unnecessary information okay we move on to exercise number

four we're going to need some vocabulary for this show up is a phrasal verb and it means

to arrive at a place or event and join other people so here's the sentence Francis showed

up to the party even though he wasn't invited now you'll have to rewrite this using despite

and being so how can you do that here's the answer Francis showed up to the party despite

not being invited so the meaning here is that Frances was not invited his friends did not

invite him to the party but still he came to the party now you might be thinking at

least some of you might be thinking do we need to say even though he hadn't been invited

and here do we need to say despite not having been invited those are correct but you don't

really need the past perfect tense here because the meaning is clear in both of these sentences

and these are actually simpler so I like keeping them like this and that this of course is

in my opinion this is better because it uses despite and being and it's a shorter sentence

all right let's move on to number five now here's the sentence how long does milk last

after you open it the question here is how long does it take for milk to spoil how long

is milk good for after you open the container so how would you rewrite this the answer how

long does milk last after being opened this is just like the first sentence fruits and

vegetables need to be washed before being eaten so this is also a sentence which changes

this clause to a passive voice clause alright number six it's hard to find and retain committed

volunteers because nobody wants to work when they are not paid so how would you change

this the answer it's hard to find and retain committed volunteers because nobody wants

to work without being paid alright we move on to exercise number seven some workers are

repainting my house so I'm staying at my sister's for a couple of weeks at my sister's means

at my sister's place how would you rewrite it well here's the answer my house is being

repainted so I'm staying at my sister's for a couple of weeks and you can tell just by

reading this first sentence that it sounds very unnatural so this is a classic case where

you need the passive voice this is the passive voice and the agent some workers the people

who are doing the action are not mentioned because that's really just unnecessary information

so my house is being repainted so I'm staying at my sister's for a couple of weeks number

eight were oing to need some vocabulary for this okay the first item is burglar a

burglar is a criminal who enters a building illegally to steal things to tiptoe means

to walk quietly on your toes with your heels raised so if these are your feet so when you

walk like this so that other people can't hear you a hallway is a passage inside a building

with rooms on either side so you'll see doors on either side of the hallway all right here's

our sentence the burglar tiptoed across the hallway he was careful not to wake the residents

how can we rewrite it alright here's the answer the burglar tiptoed across the hallway being

careful not to wake the residents so being helps us to nicely combine the two sentences

here okay exercise number nine authorities are telling locals to stay indoors and avoid

the sun as much as possible until the heat wave has ended heat wave means a period where

there's an abnormally high heat to the point where people's health can be affected so how

can we write this with being here's the answer locals are being told to stay indoors and

avoid the sun as much as possible until the heat wave has ended notice that we have left

out authorities here locals are being told to stay indoors because it's understood that

it's the government or government authorities who tell people to stay indoors all right

let's move on to exercise 10 we have an idiom in the vocabulary section here to shoot from

the hip means to speak directly without thinking even if what you say offends people where

this idiom comes from is if you've ever seen a Western or cowboy movie where a cowboy would

have a gun on their hip and just pull it out and shoot it without aiming carefully so that's

where this comes from if you shoot from the hip and that means you're a person who talks

openly honestly and directly without thinking now if you're diplomatic and that means you're

speaking without upsetting or offending others you're speaking carefully especially when

you have to convey a negative message like when you have to say no or refuse something

all right so here's the sentence Jody is a good worker but she tends to shoot from the

hip she's not very good at saying things in a diplomatic manner how would you rewrite

it okay here's the answer Joe he's a good worker but she tends to shoot from the hip

she's not very good at being diplomatic so being allows us to nicely shorten this entire

clause into just two words all right exercise 11 we need a couple of vocabulary items here

tax evasion this is actually tax evasion is a noun to evade taxes is a verb tax evasion

is the act of illegally avoiding paying taxes like when you hide your income from the government

repercussions are bad effects caused by an action like tax evasion so here's the sentence

this is going to be a little challenging too many people believe they can avoid paying

their taxes and not yet caught however the short term reward just isn't worth the legal

repercussions if one is found guilty of tax evasion you need to rewrite two clauses here

using being so stop the video and think about it then continue all right here's the answer

too many people believe they can avoid paying their taxes without being caught however

the short-term reward just isn't worth the legal repercussions of being found guilty

of tax evasion did you get that one right or all right we move on to exercise number

12 for this you'll need to know the word entrepreneur an entrepreneur is a person who starts his

or her own business here's the sentence I decided to quit my job and start my own business

because I hate it when other people tell me what to do running the business on my own

was hard at first but now that I'm used to it I'm enjoying the lifestyle of an entrepreneur

and I wouldn't dream of going back to work for someone else how would you rewrite it

here's the answer I decided to quit my job and start my own business because I hate being

told what to do by other people running the business on my own was hard was hard at first

but now that I'm used to it I'm enjoying being an entrepreneur and I wouldn't dream of going

back to work for someone else did you get that one alright let's move on to the final

exercise number 13 for this you'll need to know the word cryptocurrency cryptocurrency

is electronic money that's used for buying and selling online and that's not produced

by the government the most popular cryptocurrency is Bitcoin you may have heard of it alright

here's the sentence you notice that I haven't underlined anything here that's because I

want you to decide where you can use being in this final exercise some monetary experts

argue that criminals are using crypto currencies such as Bitcoin in underground markets for

illegal transactions and that these crypto currencies should therefore be banned if you

rewrite this correctly you will get a much more a much cleaner much shorter and a much

nicer looking sentence so try it out okay here's the answer some monetary experts argue

that crypto currencies such as Bitcoin are being used in underground markets for illegal

transactions and should therefore be banned look at how much more compact this sentence

is that's because this first part criminals are using crypto currencies in underground

markets I've changed that to a passive voice sentence some monetary experts argue that

crypto currencies are being used in underground markets so there's no mention of criminals

here because that's understood if somebody is using say Bitcoin for illegal activity

clearly that person is a criminal the other advantage is notice that in this sentence

we have these crypto currencies should therefore be banned but here I've simply said and should

therefore be banned because the subject is clear the subject is crypto currencies in

the original sentence if you remove this part now there's a problem when you say and should

therefore be banned there are two nouns here there's criminals and then there's crypto

currencies are you saying the criminals should be banned or the crypto currencies should

be banned your reader would understand because we don't really ban criminals we know the

government arrests criminals so they think about it and say yeah it's the crypto currencies

that should be banned but to avoid that confusion you need to you know put this part here but

in this sentence in the passive voice sentence there's no mention of criminals so there's

no confusion so being helps us to produce a much nicer sentence here alright I hope

you enjoyed this lesson if you did give it a thumbs up and also hit the subscribe button

if you're not subscribed already happy learning as always I'll see you in another lesson soon.

The Description of How to Use BEING - Passive voice, Gerund, Participle Clause + Useful Vocabulary & Practice Exercises