Re: USAGE: Implied prepositions in English
|From:||Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, November 19, 2008, 19:16|
On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 2:03 PM, Yahya Abdal-Aziz <yahya@...> wrote:
> Let me just observe here that it is perfectly good
> Indian (subcontinental) English to declare that:
> "Spot is being a dog".
That is perfectly good Southeastern US English as well, but I suspect
the meaning is different. Around here, if you say
"Spot is a dog."
that is a simple declaration of fact; but if you say
"Spot is being a dog."
that really means something like
"Spot is acting like a dog."
Which, in turn, means that Spot is behaving in a particularly doglike
manner. Aspect doesn't really into it - you might be observing Spot
in the act when the statement is being made, or you might be
discussing Spot's habitual behavior with his owner.
Often you would hear a "just" there, as in "Spot is just being a dog",
when the statement is being offered up as an explanation for some
behavior. ("I wish Spot would stop eating the trash!") The common
phrase "Boys will be boys" uses the future tense to convey a similar
sort of idea.
You might also hear "Jackie is being a dog" to mean that Jackie, who
is not in fact a dog, is pretending to be one.
But you would never hear "X is being a dog" from a native who simply
wanted to point out the doggish nature of X. That sort of overuse of
the progressive is quite markedly "foreign", and indeed strongly
associated with Subcontinental accents.
Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>