The point being

Three weeks ago, I wrote about the dreaded double-is, as in “the problem is is,” which so many people say, most likely because they misheard it somewhere, picked it up and absorbed it into their speech, thinking it sounded sophisticated. In my post that day, I explained why it is redundant and incorrect to use “is” twice in a row when not preceded by a clause.

I should have thought to bring up a related error while I was on the subject. It wasn’t until I was on the phone with a help desk employee that I remembered it.

Upon making a hotel reservation recently, I discovered that my Hilton Honors membership had lapsed. The nice lady on the line explained it this way: “The reason being is that you haven’t stayed in a Hilton since 2008.”

Well, I stayed at a Hilton just six weeks ago, but that’s beside the point. The issue is “being is…” One verb, used twice, once as a gerund, the other in the present tense. Right next to each other.

I don’t intend to be snooty or judgmental (maybe a little), but I think people believe they sound intelligent when they say “the reason being is…,” just as they do when they say “the reason is is…”

The help desk lady could have explained the membership lapse at least two ways and been grammatically correct. She could have said, “The reason is that guests who do not stay with us for one year lose their membership statuses.” Alternatively, she could have said, “Your membership has lapsed, the reason being that you have not stayed with us since 2008” (subordinate adverbial clause). One may use either “being” or “is,” one or the other, not both.  Or the lady could have left the verb “to be” out of it altogether and thrown in a simple “because.”

But never “the reason is because.” That’s a subject for a whole other day (not “a whole nother day”).

5 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish, Travel

5 responses to “The point being

  1. Agreed! I also dislike the phrase, “the reason why.” One needs only a reason, not a reason why.

  2. Mom

    Thank heaven I’m not alone in my response to hearing the verb “to be” overused and used incorrectly. Thank you. I have wished at times that I’d been born and raised grammtically deaf and these things didn’t challenge my patience. Still, I have many of my own, so they manage to keep me humble.

  3. Dianne

    How funny – not the grammar lesson, but that I just made a reservation at a Hilton and learned that my HHonors membership has also expired. Lousy rewards program…..

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