‘The Point Being Is That …’

point of pencil macro shot against white

How often have you heard people say “the point being is that …”? Or “the reason being is that …”?

Do these phrases make sense? At Pen-for-Rent, we hear them a lot, but what they tell us is that the speaker is a little careless with his or her use of language. Why? Because “being” and “is” are both forms of the same verb – “be.”

When someone says, “the point being is that …” they might as well be saying “the point is, is that ….” When you say it like that, it sounds silly. Why repeat the verb “be”? Why not just say, “the point (or reason) is that …”?

Here’s another way of looking at it. If someone is so long-winded that your eardrums are begging for a rest, you might be tempted to ask, “What’s your point?” Would you ever ask, “What’s your point being?” Of course not!

At some point, “the point being” became a phrase that people use on “autopilot,” without thinking about what they’re actually saying or how they sound.

Our point is simply that if we use the verb “be” twice in a row when we’re speaking, some listeners might think we sound (a) repetitive, (b) sloppy in our speech and perhaps in our thinking, (c) inarticulate, (d) poorly educated or (e) all of the above.

Our advice? Don’t let this happen to you! And especially not in writing! (We hope you’ll consider it a point well taken.)

2 replies
  1. Sheila
    Sheila says:

    Howard, always love your explanations of things grammatically incorrect. I think I love grammar almost as much as you but hardly have your level of knowledge. When texting, do you find it difficult not to write in complete sentences and without all needed punctuation? I do

    Reply
    • Howard Daniel
      Howard Daniel says:

      Thank you, Sheila. Sorry to take so long in acknowledging your comment — we’re traveling, and having a great time. To respond to your question about texting, I too generally write in complete sentences, with punctuation. I’m a writer, dammit! How else should I write?

      Reply

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