Look at this construction:
It hasn’t been being cleaned.
Isn’t that a pretty normal construction to hear? It is a progressive past passive, third person singular, indicative (number, voice, mood, person, tense/aspect……. it’s all there in case the grammar mavens doubt my understanding of grammar).
Yet it was condemned by people we are familiar with, people we regard as part of our recent English heritage, like Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels. Why? Because it was something new to them, something used by younger people, by people perhaps not of the acceptable social classes (I’ll try to find the literature on this; I’m pretty sure I have some on my shelf). What did people say in its place? The example commonly used is: The house was painting ~ for what we would now say ~ The house was being painted.
We always encounter the skeptics in the crowd, those who think English has always been spoken the way they speak it, so let me remind everyone that among Englishes around the world but particularly in England among the dialects are usages completely out of the realm of possibility in the minds of the grammar mavens, e.g. I will give it him. Even in the U.S. we have usages like “the car needs washed” and “I might could do that”.
The skeptics throw up their hands and talk about backwaters and profound ignorance bordering on mental retardation, the side of snobbism often ignored, but what do we use to measure acceptability? If we now accept “it hasn’t been being cleaned” when it was condemned by men of letters just a couple of centuries earlier, what made the difference? Why do we accept that but not “I might could”? We can go all the way back to Proto-Germanic or even to Proto-Indo-European and find those who railed against the changes in the language. In fact, one of the most famous linguists was a scholar who worked over a THOUSAND years before the foundations of modern linguistic science were established in the 1800s. Panini, and he worried about the corruption of the language of the incantations upon which his Indian society’s religion depended for efficacious propitiation of the gods. He just didn’t have Madison Avenue and rap music to blame.