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Use of “Being” on GMAT

Through this short video, understand the use of the term "being", particularly from the perspective of the GMAT sentence correction questions.

Use of “Being” on GMAT

Use of "Being" on GMAT

There are certain words and phrases that represent a very high likelihood that a GMAT sentence correction answer choice is incorrect. By keeping these words and phrases in mind, while solving the sentence correction questions, you can improve both your accuracy and speed by swiftly eliminating obviously incorrect answer choices. However, there are often exceptions to these rules that must also be kept in mind. In this short article, we will cover the use of one such word, "being", on the GMAT.

Why “Being” is Typically Inappropriate on the GMAT

Generally speaking, the use of the word "being" is redundant on the GMAT, and represents an inappropriate answer choice. Roughly 80 percent of the time an answer choice that contains the word "being" will not be correct because its use leads to a wordy, passive construction. To illustrate,

Example 1 - Jack is being honest in accepting his mistakes.
Example 1 is quite wordy. If the word "being" was not used, the sentence could easily be formed and would be more concise.

Example 2 - Jack is honest in accepting his mistakes.
As you can see, Example 2 conveys the same meaning that example one does but it takes fewer words to do so.

The Exceptions

Although rare, there are two cases where the use of being is acceptable, on the GMAT, when it is part of a noun phrase and when it reflects the passive continuous verb tense.

1. When 'being' is part of a noun phrase

Please consider the following example.

Example 3 - Being the team leader, Jack has been planning the project.
In this sentence, "being the team leader" is a noun phrase, a phrase centered on a noun. Thus, since the word "being" is a part of this phrase, the use of this word does not make the sentence awkward or wordy.

2. When 'being' reflects the passive continuous verb tense

Please consider the following example.

Example 4 - Chimpanzees are humans' closest relatives, leading complex social lives and being handy with tools.
In this sentence, "leading complex social lives" and "being handy with tools" both reflect the passive continuous verb tense. Thus, this sentence is also correct.


Several GMAT books commit the mistake of stating that any sentence correction answer choice that contains the word "being" should be discarded; as this article has shown, that is not the case. Hence, please do not eliminate an answer choice simply because it contains "being"; delve deeper.
This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos.

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