He is being helpful/sarcastic. Hello! I have an issue with the sentence "He is being helpful". Why do we say that ? I mean, I would say "He is helpful". Same thing with the word "sarcastic". I always hear the phrase "He is being sarcastic". On the other hand we say: "He is sick" and not "He is being sick.". I guess it is any kind of passive but I do not understand why. Can you help me? Thanks in advance!!
Oct 9, 2012 7:40 AM
Answers · 6
'Is being' signifies at this moment. If you say 'He is helpful', that's a general comment and does not describe his behaviour now. You can actually say 'He ıs being sick'! That means he is vomiting. :) In all your cases, these are active sentences in present continuous. A passive example would be, 'He is being helped'. (Note the participle: helped.)
October 9, 2012
Your question is why do we use the "present continuous" (also called "present progressive") and not just the present ? The present continuous is used when emphasizing a temporary event or the temporary duration of an action. Example: "The film is starting now." or " I'm getting nervous." If you say, "He is sarcastic." or "He is a sarcastic person," the implication is that this is a permanent trait or attribute of this person. If you say, "He IS (just) BEING sarcastic," it implies that only at this moment in time is he acting sarcastically. He is not always like this. "Is she always like this?" "No, she's just being silly." or "Yeah, she's a silly girl."
October 9, 2012
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