Use of HAS BEEN, HAVE BEEN or HAD BEEN and Complete Guide

People often get confused when the difference between similar-looking words is not apparent. A similar confusion is observed in the case of has been, have been, had been. Before we delve into the Grammar of this topic, let’s understand the significant differences that stand out.

“Had been” is used to indicate an event in the past, something that has already happened in the past.

“Has been” and “Have been” are used to indicate events in the present.

If you try some more sentences, you will see a pattern. So, let’s dive straight into the topic.

Use of had been, has been or have been

● Uses of has been:

To understand how to use ‘has been’ perfectly in a sentence, we must know the Grammar behind it. As we know by now, ‘has been’ is used to indicate events in the present.

‘Has been’ is used for singular subjects. A singular subject means only one person is acting as the subject. The subject could be male or female. It could also mean another thing which is neuter in gender. He, she, it, etc., are such singular subjects.

‘Has been’ is used as an auxiliary verb (helping verb) in Present Perfect Continuous Tense.


For Example:

  1. Sam has been living at that same place for many years.
  2. Rachel has been going out with him for a while.
  3. Mona has been calling you since yesterday.

As it is evident from these examples, ‘has been’ is used in the Present Perfect Continuous tense form.

It is formed by has been+present participle/gerund (root verb form and -ing)

Has been can also be used as an auxiliary verb (helping verb) in Present Perfect Tense.

For examples:

  1. Sam has been awarded the project.
  2. Your apology has been revoked.
  3. She has been inducted into the program.

In this case, ‘has been’ is used in the same way without the -ing form. This is in the passive voice.

‘Has been’ is also used as a stative verb. A stative verb means the state of being.

For examples.:

1. It has been stressful for us.

2. It has been incredible working with you.

3. Sam has been an important member of the crew.

As you can see from the examples, they act as verbs. They are mostly used along with an adjective.

● Uses of have been

A like has been, ‘have been’ is used to indicate events in the present. But unlike has been, ‘have been’ is used for plural subjects. This includes I, we, you, they.

‘Have been’ is used as an auxiliary verb (helping verb) in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense form.

It is formed by have been+present participle/gerund (root verb form and -ing)

For examples:

  1. They have been sharing the apartment.
  2. I have been sleeping in the garage.
  3. Monica and Rachel have been waiting for hours.

Have been’ is used as an auxiliary verb (helping verb) in the Present Perfect Tense.

For example:

  1. The tuitions have been cancelled.
  2. They have been tried.
  3. We have been punished.

These are also in the passive voice.

‘Have been’ is also used as a stative verb.

For example:

  1. You have been a great help.
  2. We have been generous to you.
  3. Have you been to the museum lately?

Just like in the case of has been as a stative verb, ‘been’ is the past participle of ‘Be’, and the has, have, had are helping verbs.

● Use of had been

‘Had been’ is used to indicate an event that has already happened in the past. Unlike the two cases seen before, it is used for both singular and plural subjects.

‘Had been’ is used as an auxiliary verb (helping verb) in the Past Perfect Continuous tense. It is formed by had been+present participle/gerund (root verb form and -ing)

For example:

  1. Vardhan had been staying there for three years.
  2. She had been singing on the stage when the guest came.
  3. I had been going to his place.

‘Had been’ is used as an auxiliary verb (helping verb) in Past Perfect Tense.

For example:

  1. Your account had been closed for the last week.
  2. They had been promoted before 2018.
  3. The work had been finished days back.

The sentences are used in the passive voice.

‘Had been’ is also used as a stative verb.

For example

  1. They had been relentless before he returned.
  2. She had been ambitious since her childhood.
  3. He had been crazy about you since school.

‘Been’ is the main verb and the past participle of ‘be’.

● Differences between has been, have been, had been

Let’s summarize the differences between all three of them.

  1. ‘Has been’ is used with singular subjects. ‘Have been’ is used with Plural subjects. ‘Had been’ is used with both singular and plural subjects.
  2. In the Present Perfect Tense, ‘has been’ and ‘have been’ are both used as helping verbs but in the passive voice. Similarly, in the Past Perfect tense, ‘had been’ is also used in the passive voice. Passive voice interprets that the focus is on the object, not the subject.

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