SOME seemingly matter-of-fact and grammatically airtight statements often get accepted in everyday discourse despite their faulty logic. Known as glittering or glowing generalities, they strongly appeal to our emotions because of their close association with such highly valued concepts and beliefs as the primacy of family, home, and country, the sanctity of religious dogma, and the nobility of teaching as a profession. As such, we take them to be true at face value without examining the rationality of their premises.

These thoughts came rushing to mind when I was asked this innocuous grammar question recently by a member of Jose Carillo’s English Forum who goes by the username Baklis: “Sir, I just want to know the difference between ‘being’ and ‘having been’ in these two sentences: ‘Being a teacher, she likes children.’ ‘Having been a teacher, she likes children.’”

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