Dear Rachel & Richard
Would you please expalin to me - with examples
if possible - why it is not possible to use
the perfect continuous tenses in the passive ?
Thank you very much for your kind help.
With my sincerest wishes for a happy new year.

Sayed
Original Post
Dear Richard ,
Many thanks for your quick reply .But I think
it's not possible to say " been being " .
Besides , I have read before in British grammar
book that it's not possible to use the perfect
continuous tenses in the passive.
The mentioned book didn't show the reasons.
Waiting for your reply .
Thank you very much.

Sayed
quote:
But I think it's not possible to say " been being " .


It IS possible. See these sentences certified by a university professor in another forum:

------
A. "He must have been interviewed"
B. "He must have been being interviewed".

A does not mean the same as B.

B refers to what was happening at the time the man was seen sitting in the manager's office.

A is more general. It could mean that he was sitting in the manager's office following an interview. He might have been interviewed by someone else (not necessarily the manager), and possibly in a different place.
-----
Dear Jerry,
I think that what you have mentioned is only
an attempt to justify something is - in fact -
not possible !
Do you know the longman book :
" Grammar practice for upper intermediate students?"
Look at page 60 to read the following :
" The passive is not used in the present perfect
continuous ,the past perfect continuous or the
future perfect continuous for reasons of style "

Also, Betty Azar says in her book :
" Understanding and using English grammar "
that these tenses are very rarely used in
passive. Can you tell me why?!
Do you still think it's possible to use them in
passive?!
Waiting for your comment. I also hope to know
Richard and Rachel's opinion.
With my best regards.

Sayed
Sayed, I think you answered your own question when you mentioned those two sources. If Betty Azar says that this tense is very rarely used in the passive," it means they it does exist and it is a possible form, even though it may be seen or heard only rarely.

As for your other reference, they say the form isn't used for reasons of style, but they don't say it isn't possible to use it. Style is a relative thing and doesn't mean, as you said, that "...it's not possible to use the perfect continuous tense in the passive." It certainly is possible, but it may not be considered the best form to use stylistically.

The key to this whole discussion is the fact that you said it is not possible to say been being. I hope you now see that it definitely is possible. That's the only point that we should be focusing on in this discussion.

Richard
Dear Richard ,
Many thanks again for your kind and quick reply.
please allow me to comment as follow :

1- The reason for which I have asked my question
is that the expression " for reasons of
style " was not clear enough for me and I
was in need for enough clarification.

2- I have understood from the longman book
that " is not used " = " is not possible "
or " is not used " because it's not possible

3- When Betty Azar says " it's very rarely
used " , this means that " it's not standard
English " and accordingly not correct.
It's the same as in the sentence of
" belonging ". Remember?

4- Do you really think that it's correct or
acceptable to say " been being "? please tell
me why ?

5- I think that when we change a sentence into
passive , the tense of the passive sentence
must be the same tense of the active sentence
In the example of your first reply it's clear
that the tense of the active sentence was
" present perfect continuous " and I think it
is not the same tense in the example of your
passive sentence. Am I right?

6- As for my question about " each and every "
would you please tell me what does " pat"
mean?

Waiting for your kind reply.

Thank you very much.

Sayed
You're right when you say that the passive voice sentence should reflect the same time as the active sentence -- if you're converting one from the other. Please remember that not every passive voice sentence needs to start with the active voice. That's a misconception that many people have because they learned to "convert" active sentences into passive ones when they learned this form.

As for your point No. 5, I'm confused. I don't know what sentence you're referring to.

As for your point No. 6, a "pat phrase" is a phrase that people use regularly and should not be analyzed. In this case, pat is an adjective meaning "something that's been often used before."

Richard
Dear Richard ,

Many thanks for your reply. I think the sentence
in the active voice was as follows:
- Rachel has been moderating this web site for
a few years now.

As you see , the tense of this active sentence
is " Present perfect continuous " and it's
supposed to be the same tense of your passive
sentence:
- This web site has been being moderated by Rachel for a few years now.

I think that is what you have agreed with me on,
in your reply. But you didn't answer my question
whether the tense of your passive sentence is
the same tense of the active sentence?

I think you can't say it's the same tense :
" Present perfect continuous " because it's not.
That is another reason why the sentence is not
correct.

*** Also , you didn't answer my question whether
it's correct to say " been being "?
I think it can't be standard English. This is
the first reason " why the sentence is not correct".

In my last reply I was referring to the
sentence :
- The fax number turned to be belonging to
another company.

You have told me that this sentence is not
standard English so it's not correct.
I think I can say the same about your sentence.
It's not standard English and accordingly it's
not correct too!

*** As for the expression " Each and every" ,do
you mean that people used to use this expression
but they do not use it now? Can I say it's no
longer standard English?
Waiting for your kind reply.
Thank you very much. With my sicerest wishes
and appreciation.

Sayed
Dear Richard ,
I would like to post here the opinion of another
native speaker. She is also an English tutor:

You can use the present and past continuous active in the passive:

He is being informed about policy right now.

He was being informed about policy when the shock news came in.

But the other continuous forms aren't used in the passive (although theoretically possible) because they sound and feel clumsy.

You have been being informed ????? Most native English speakers would see this as a mistake, as the "been being" feels wrong.

--------------------------------------------
I think that her opinion also assures that it's
wrong to say "been being". Accordingly, it also
assures that your passive sentence is wrong.
Waiting for your kind comment.
thank you very much.

Sayed
The original question on this thread was about why it is not possible to use the perfect continuous tenses in the passive.

It is possible to use the perfect continuous (progressive) tenses in the future. Here are several examples from the New York Times Archives:


"¢ Mr. Hussein has been being held in American custody by a team known as Task Force 134 at Camp Cropper, near the Baghdad Airport. Published: December 29, 2006

"¢ Now, though, it has been being hauled out for display at the place that was its original destination: the original New York City Building, which now houses the Queens Museum of Art, in Flushing Meadow Park. A seven-piece section comprising the New York area is on display at the museum through Feb. 12. Published: December 4, 2005

"¢ According to Rapiscan, more than 90 percent of passengers searched while their machines have been being tried out at Heathrow Airport near London have chosen the backscatter over a pat-downPublished: October 9, 2005.

"¢ ''There's no excuse,'' David Neustadt, a spokesman for Mr. Hevesi, said on Friday. ''It should have been being paid all along, but the most important thing is it will be paid.''Published: September 23, 2006

"¢ The biggest hindrance for the Treadaways may have been being strapped together -- with everything from a rock-climbing harness to prosthetics -- for long periods of time. ''It was a bit annoying anytime you wanted to go to the toilet,'' Luke Treadaway said. Published: July 16, 2006

"¢ ''It is a very common thing, not only in Essex but throughout England, that churchyards are being closed simply because they have been being used for such a long time,'' said the vicar, the Rev. Richard Salenius. Published: April 13, 2004

Here are examples appearing on other sites:

"¢ I have been being paid on the 10th and the 25th now since I've been with this company. We were always paid on an earlier day if the 10th or the 25th fell on ...
http://www.laborlawtalk.com/showthread.php?t=146664

"¢ For that matter, advances have been steadily been being made in medical imaging as new developments have been being made through the past century! ...
http://qd.typepad.com/37/2005/10/the_motive_for_.html -



"¢ "Well, there isn't much left, because that money has been being spent for months now." was my answer. http://www.robshouse.net/hasbeenbeing
_______

Now, the topic of the passive used with a perfect progressive has been addressed on several language discussion sites. Here is one example:

"¢ Suppose now that what we commonly call a passive construction in English contains a perfective aspect, and that aspects can be combined. Then we can construct verb phrases with the following aspects:

The car was cleaned. | perfective
The car was being cleaned. | continuous + perfective
The car had been being cleaned. | perfective + continous + perfective

The last combination will accordingly be restricted to contexts in which it is important to convey (in this case) that an event with a result was ongoing in the past but is completed now. Usually, we don't need to be quite that specific and we emphasize either that an event was ongoing or that it is completed. http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9108a&L=linguist&P=1370
_______

Of course the passive with all progressive tenses exists as seen in the examples above.

It is true that with some tenses, its use is not frequent and in many cases may be stylistically awkward. However, there is no doubt that these tenses exist and are sometimes used very accurately to describe an ongoing situation.

Rachel
Dear Rachel ,
Many thanks for your kind reply and great help.
Now I know that the perfect continuous tenses
are used in passive but I still need to know
your reply to the following questions :

1- Can you consider the examples you have
mentioned as standard English? Why?

2- Even if its use is not frequent or frequent ,do
you think that those examples are grammatically
correct?

3- Is it correct to say " been being "?why?

4- Don't you agree with me that when you change an
active sentence of perfect continuous tense into
passive ,the tense of the acive sentense always
changes?
( Of course , it's supposed not to be changed.)

Thank you very much with my sincerest wishes and
appreciation .

Sayed
1- Can you consider the examples you have mentioned as standard English? Why?

This question, Sayed, has proven very interesting to me. I went to several references for a concise definition of "standard English," and there was not one! By that I mean that the several references noted different kinds of standard English. You know that in English we don't have an academy to decide on what is correct and what isn't; we have to rely on "standard English."

Here is the most concise, and the simplest definition of "standard English" that I found. It comes from Bryan A. Garner*

Broadly speaking, it is the English used by educated people.
_______

Now, the examples that I gave you – and that others posting on this thread have given you – are no doubt standard English. To begin with, they exist in any verb conjugation diagram. But, explicitly, there were thousands of examples of which only a few appear on our board. All of these are used naturally. No teacher or student made them up. They were found on sites where correct and standard grammar is always used. They exist in standard English.
_______

2- Even if its use is not frequent or frequent ,do you think that those examples are grammatically correct?

Yes, the examples are perfectly grammatically correct. There is no doubt about that.

If you want some examples of awkward and inappropriate perfect progressive sentences, here are some (I'm making them up):

NOT: When the Foster family arrived in Kansas, the land had already been being distributed, and there was no more available land for the Fosters.

NOT: The electricity went out. All the children have been being sent home.

NOT: By the end of 2007, the bridge will have been being completed.

Perhaps you can see why the sentences above are not correct. Make them correct. Then you can see why the "being" does not belong in those sentences.

However, "being" does belong in these sentences:

"¢ When the Foster family arrived in Kansas, the land had been being distributed for a year. There were, however, some small parcels of land which were available, and the Foster family was able to obtain those.

"¢ The electricity went out. All the children have been being sent home class by class. Almost all the children have left, but the process isn't completed yet.

"¢ By the end of 2007, the bridge will have been being "completed" for two years! Are they never going to finish that bridge? By the end of 2007, the bridge really will have been being worked on for four years, and we have been being told that the bridge will be completed at the end of the year!

3- Is it correct to say " been being "?why?

"Been being" exists as part of a verb phrase. We have given enough examples of its existence. Look back at these postings.

Just to have some handy, here are more:

"¢ Attention should have been being paid. It wasn't. That's why the embezzlers succeeded.
"¢ The clock must have been being fixed. That's why it wasn't there.
"¢ The bills may have been being paid all along. Find out so we don't pay twice.
"¢ Extreme measures have been being taken to avoid problems. However, there is no longer any need for
such extreme caution. All such measures will be cancelled now, and you can relax.
"¢ Before our arrival, our hotel room had been being cleaned. We waited in the lobby until the room had
been completely cleaned, and then we went up and unpacked.

4- Don't you agree with me that when you change an
active sentence of perfect continuous tense into
passive ,the tense of the acive sentense always
changes?
( Of course , it's supposed not to be changed.)


Are you thinking of the sentence Richard gave us?

"¢ Rachel has been moderating this list for 100 years now?

This active sentence translates perfectly to the passive:

"¢ This list has been being moderated by Rachel for 100 years now.

Those two sentences are correct, and are perfect continuous (progressive).

Here's another:

"¢ The students have been abusing their cell phone privileges for too long. As a result, the students have no cell phone access any longer.

This active sentence translates perfectly to the passive:

"¢ The students' cell phone privileges have been being abused for too long. As a result, the students have no cell phone access any longer.
_______

Now, the fact that the verb phrase "been being" exists in all the progressive tenses does not mean that it is always the most comfortable, most beautiful tense to use. When you write or say your sentences with "been being," you may find a better way to express your thought.

In summary, the passive exists in perfect progressive tenses, and in fact, is alive and well. It is often used to express something perfectly. At the same time, it is sometimes clumsy, and you may find a better way to express your thought.

Rachel
_______
*Modern American English,by Bryan A. Garner. Oxford University Press. 2003

Sayed might also want to consult Quirk et al. "A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language", which I think can be considered as a reference for the description of the English language. Chapter 3, section 3.64 "Voice defined" mentions the active form "has been kissing" and its passive equivalent "has been being kissed". The fact that such complex forms aren't frequent doesn't mean they're not part of the language.

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