In my work as an editor and proofreader, a common and frequent error I see is the use of the phrases “being that,” “being as,” and “being as how.” While these casual and colloquial uses of the irregular verb to be are common, they are not appropriate for writers.
I find that writers often use these phrases because they don’t know how else to make their point. Let’s take this sentence, for example:
“Being as a I am a well-rounded student in high school, I expect to get acceptance letters from a lot of colleges.”
The construction of this sentence is too casual for someone who is writing professionally—or someone who is trying to impress a college selection committee. Yes, there are other issues with that sentence, and I’ll address some of them in future posts, but for now, let’s focus on the introductory phrase.
“Being as I am” is awkward at best and just plain ugly at its worst. As Patricia T. O’Conner, author of Woe Is I puts it, “This clunker . . . may squeak by in conversation . . . but should be avoided in writing.”
The fix is simple: Substitute “because” for “being as” or “being that” and you’ve solve the issue! Here’s our sentence again with the correct word choice:
“Being as Because I am a well-rounded student in high school, I expect to get acceptance letters from a lot of colleges.”
An alternate choice could be, “As I am a well-rounded student in high school, I expect to get acceptance letters from a lot of colleges.”
When you are self-editing, remember to avoid this incorrect use of to be. And if you have something to say about this or other grammar goofs, I hope you’ll share them here or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week: Affected Writing