The Grammarphobia Blog

Being and nothingness

Q: I’d like to hear your thoughts on the use of “being that” in a sentence like this: “It’s not my responsibility being that I only started working here a week ago.”

A: “Being that” is generally not considered good English when used in place of “because” or “since.” I’d call it excessively informal or dialectal rather than incorrect, though.

It also sounds awkward and clunky, to my ear at least.

However, I should mention that the usage is widespread, has been around for several hundred years (even in literary writing), and probably won’t go away soon!

Here’s an example, from 1641, in a book on farming by Henry Best: “They went all for halfe gates, beinge that they coulde not bee discerned.”

And here’s a passage from Sir Walter Scott’s novel Guy Mannering (1815): “being that he was addicted unto profane and scurrilous jests.”

(The examples here are given in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Sometimes “being” is used without “that” (as in “Being I was going, I offered him a ride.”). And sometimes the variation “being as” is used instead.

The result is the same: a usage that’s not the best English.

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