writing - Should I write "that being said" (vs. "that's been said" or "Having said that")?

  • VonC

    I often write what "sounds" right (being not a native English speaker/writer), and I believe the expression "that being said" to be fairly common, as opposed to a more complete form like "that's been said" or "Having said that".

    In doubt, I turn to google fight, which seems to confirm the common usage. (not exactly the right reference, I know.)

    Yet, I don't think that "that being said" is correct, especially in writing. "That said" is even more common. Is it also acceptable in writing?

    What expression would you use in formal writing? (Not too formal though: like a technical forum)

  • Answers
  • ShreevatsaR

    Both "that said" and "that being said" are common (possibly too common) and perfectly grammatical, and sufficiently formal as well. "Having said that" is also correct, but to be correct the subject in what follows must be whoever said that (usually "I"). For instance, you can say:

    • Roses are usually red. That [being] said, they are also…

    But you'd have to say:

    • I like turtles. Having said that, I will now proceed to show…

    That said, if you don't follow it up with "I", many people wouldn't notice anything amiss these days.

    "That's been said" is a full sentence (edit: complete clause), and it only means "That has been said". Full stop. It cannot be used to introduce the rest of the sentence in the same manner.

  • Alan Hogue

    To my ear, "that's been said" is actually wrong if used in this context. The other two, "that being said" and "having said that" are normal; I would say they are somewhat fossilized expressions. However, they aren't ungrammatical. For instance:

    1) The car being washed, Hugo went home. (somewhat archaic sounding, but I think fine)

    2) Having washed the car, Hugo went home. (perfect)

    "That's been said" will sound distinctly odd if used in the same way, probably just because it is not a recognized idiom.

  • Related Question

    writing - Is it alright to use lowercase "i" or should you always use "I" (uppercase)?
  • VonC

    I frequently edit questions on StackOverflow, and I always fix the "i" into "I".
    See this edit revision for instance.

    When i I start my tomcat, i I am getting this problem.
    How could i I resolve this problem.

    Am I right to do so?

    Benjol points out an interesting thread illustrating that debate:

    The point of text on a site like this is to communicate.
    Why do you want to make it harder to communicate than it has to be?
    You may like writing with no capitalization, but I think it's pretty clear that people prefer reading with capitalization.
    If you don't care about making life easier for those trying to help you, why do you think anyone will bother helping you in the first place?

    Readers of the modern English language have grown accustomed to certain norms. Paragraphs, for one. Punctuation. Consistent spelling. And, of course, capitalization.

  • Related Answers
  • nohat

    It is the standard orthography of English to capitalize the first person singular pronoun, as well as in contractions like I'm or I'll. This is not a universal property of written language, though—far from it.

    Apparently the capitalization of I comes from England sometime before the time of Chaucer. The typographists of the day dictated this change; they thought that i (after being truncated from something more German-like "ich") was simply too small to stand on its own and bear so much meaning. Just goes to show how much of a technology writing really is.

  • Peter Eisentraut

    The orthography is what the orthography is, and while there are many variations allowed in certain aspects, no serious authority supports abandoning the distinction between upper and lower case. So unless you are sticking with a rebellious all-lower case spelling, a lower case "i" is always wrong.

  • Neil Fein

    If you're looking for justification outside of a dictionary, there are countless style guidelines that will address the issue -- you'd think. I can't find much, at least not online.

    "Me, Myself and I" -- New York Times article on this very question. (It comes to the same conclusion -- there's no real grammatical reason for capitalizing "I" aside from typography.)

  • Alan Hogue

    Well, it really depends on what you are writing. If you are writing something formal, or if you think your audience will care, then sure. If you are texting or IMing, or being much more casual, then it's really up to you whether you want to bother or not. Capitalization, like most orthography, is just a matter of convention.

  • Jay

    The first-person pronoun should always be capitalized in English. Whether it is appropriate to correct others' mistakes in this regard is a question of etiquette, not grammar. :-)

  • mary

    My English teacher taught that as with any first letter of the first word of any sentence, "I" too is capitalized, and its contraction "I'll" the same. However, inside the sentence lower-case is acceptable. EX: (A) "I'll see you at 6pm." (B) "John, while you're getting the BBQ ready, i'll go for a jog in the park." This applies to "i'm" and "myself" which are only capitalized when they're the first word of a sentence.