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General Writing and Grammar Help/Correct to use being + past participle?


Dear Jerry,

My question is whether it is proper to use a past participle followed by "being" in a participial phrase to represent a past-imparted characteristic. (Context is legal writing, if that helps).

Here's an example with a non-participle adjective:
- "a red car in the garage"
- "a car in the garage, the car being red"
My understanding is that the above two phrases are equivalent.

Now, here's an example with a past participle ("painted")
(a) "a painted car in the garage"
(b) "a car in the garage, the car being painted"

Here, it is unclear to me whether (b) is a proper equivalent of (a), because "the car being painted" appears to be ambiguous as to whether it means "currently being painted" or "being having been painted."

Thank you for all your help!


I agree with your reasoning that being painted means that that car in the garage is in the process of being painted. Whereas, the car having been painted means it was painted at a previous time.

I hope that clears up the confusion,

Jerry Leone

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Jerry Leone


I`ve taught writing or some aspect of the English language for nearly 35 years. I can answer nearly any question on grammar, usage or meanings of words above dictionary usage. An avid crossword fan and writer, I can also answer questions about business presentations and resumes.


I have worked with words all my life as a teacher of the language and as an amateur and professional writer. Communication is a vital force in my life and everyone else's.

Sigma Delta Chi, NY Press Association, NY Publishers Association

BA in English from the University of Buffalo, MEd in English from SUNY Buffalo, MA in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo. Course work in Journalism from Syracuse Univ., in Linguistics from Rutgers Univ. and Journalism from Univ. of Texas and Ohio Univesrity.

Awards and Honors
Chancellor's Award for Excellence Teaching SUNY, Distinguished Teaching Award SUNY Morrisville, Who's Who in American Journalism Education

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