Does it make any difference with passive auxiliary or not?

Jose Arcadio Segundo, in the meantime, had satisfied his wish to see a shooting. For the rest of his life he would remember the livid flash of the six simultaneous shots-and the echo of the discharge as it broke against the hills and the sad smile and perplexed eyes of the man being shot, who stood erect while his shirt became soaked with blood, and who was still smiling even when they untied him from the post and put him in a box filled with quicklime. (One Hundred Years of Solitude, tr. by Gregory Rabassa)

Can you substitute being shot with shot? If yes, isn’t there any semantic difference?
Since being is an auxiliary used for passive construction, I don’t think there is some difference.


Both being shot and shot are, as you say, semantically passive. The difference is one of aspect: bare shot is a perfective form, being shot is an imperfective progressive construction.

That is, if you expand these two reduced relatives you get

… the man who was shot …
… the man who was being shot …

The construction without being would represent Segundo’s memory of the smile on the face of the man after he had been shot.

The construction with being represents Segundo’s memory of the man smiling as he was being shot, and is necessary because it is followed by Segundo’s memory that the man was still smiling after he had been shot and was cut down.

Source : Link , Question Author : Listenever , Answer Author : StoneyB on hiatus

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