I was thinking of types of adjectives that may appear in 'am/is/are being + Adjective' pattern to express temporary behavior. I get why adjectives like 'old, tall, angry, etc.' cannot be used in the patter. How about 'wise'? Can I say 'Mary is being wise'? It doesn't sound good to me, but it also seems like having an opposite meaning from 'foolish' that allows such a pattern.

Original Post

You can definitely say "Mary is being wise". It's describing her current actions. If you said "Mary is wise", then you mean something different - that she's always wise (like in using 'tall' or another word that is always descriptive of someone). The reason you don't use "angry" in this way is because we don't use that word to describe how someone always, regularly is (which is how present simple is used), unless we put that limit in: "Mary is always angry/is an angry person". "Mary is angry" expresses temporary behaviour without 'being', because of how we use this word. You can't use 'tall' only because it's not a thing about someone that can change, so you can't use it in a temporary way. Other descriptions which can change, like 'wise', 'foolish', 'funny', etc., can be used with 'being'.

Last edited by ForTheLoveofWords

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