Use of HAS BEEN, HAVE BEEN, HAD BEEN in English

In this post, we learn when to use has been, have been, and had been in English. If you prefer watching videos to learn English to reading articles, watch the video attached at the end!

Before we look at all the different usages of has been, have been and had been in English, let’s learn what subjects we use these verbs with.

Use of subjects with has been, have been and had been

  • Has been = singular subject (he, she, it and all singular noun names)
  • Have been = plural subject (I, you, we, they and all plural noun names)
  • Had been = any subject (both singular and plural)

Singular noun names = Rahul, Max, Roxy, mother doctor, dog, cat, book, class, etc.
Plural noun names =
friends, people, students, cats, dogs, classes, parents, teachers, etc.

Different uses of has been have been and had been in English
Different uses of has been have been and had been in English

When to use has been, have been, and had been in English?

Here are the situations where we use has been, have been and had been in English:

1. HAS BEEN & HAVE BEEN are used as helping verbs in Present perfect continuous tense, and HAD BEEN is used as a helping verb in Past perfect continuous tense.

Has been and have been are used as helping verbs in the Present Perfect Continuous tense to talk about an action that started in the past and is still going on in the present.

Had been is used as a helping verb in the Past Perfect Continuous tense to talk about an action that started in the past, continued for some time, and then stopped in the past only.

Has been examples:

  • He has been helping me with my project for some months.
  • Jyoti has been painting stones since last year.
  • My father has been working there since 1990.
  • She has been teaching for a long time.
  • It has been working here.

NOTE: We use ‘FOR’ to talk about the time duration of the action, and ‘SINCEto talk about the starting time of the action.

Have been examples:

  • I have been making English videos for some years.
  • You have been working hard.
  • We have been helping them since last year.
  • They have been sleeping for 15 hours.
  • These guys have been performing well lately.

Had been examples:

  • Ron had been living there for 10 years before coming back to India.
  • We had been waiting there for hours when he came.
  • She had been cooking when the guests came.

In these examples, has been, have been and had been are working as helping verbs; the progressive form a verb (V1+ing) that’s coming after them is the main verb.

2. HAS BEEN & HAVE BEEN are used as helping verbs in Present perfect tense (passive voice), and HAD BEEN is used as a helping verb in Past perfect tense (passive voice).

Has been and have been are used as helping verbs in Present perfect tense (passive voice) to talk about an action that started in the past and is still going on in the present.

Had been is used as a helping verb in Past perfect tense (passive voice) to talk about an action that started in the past, continued for some time and then stopped in the past only.

NOTE: in passive voice, the writer focuses on the object of the verb, not the doer of the action.

Has been examples:

  • My account has been credited with $500.
  • The building has been painted recently.
  • He has been promoted to the branch manager.
  • The lady has been taken to the hospital.
  • The fight has been rebooked.

Have been examples:

  • We have been demoted by the organization.
  • All the schools have been revamped in Delhi.
  • They have been fired from the job.
  • The classes have been canceled.

Had been examples:

  • The bar had been closed before we reached there.
  • The food had been finished when I got home.
  • His parents had been admitted to the hospital on time.
  • Some of us had been fired from the job before 2019.

Note that these sentences are in the passive voice. In most of these sentences, the doer of the action hasn’t been mentioned. Has been, have been and had been are acting as helping verbs here; the past participle (V3) that’s coming after them is the main verb.

3. HAS BEEN and HAVE BEEN are used as stative verbs in the present perfect tense, and HAD BEEN is used as a stative verb in the past perfect tense.

Has been and have been are used as stative verb in the present perfect tense to show a state of being or the situation the subject of the sentence has been in for some time.

And had been as a stative verb in the Past Perfect tense shows a state of being or the situation that the subject of the sentence had been in for some time in the past.

Examples of ‘has been’ as a stative verb:

  • Archit has been helpful since last year. (showing the continuous state that Archit has been in)
  • Your performance has been very crucial for the team.
  • This year has been terrible for most people.
  • This number has been lucky for me.
  • The journey has been painful for a year.
  • Jyoti has been there for me in every tough situation.

Examples of ‘have been’ as a stative verb:

  • You have been a life saver for many years.
  • I have been very excited for this match. (Excited is an adjective here, not an action verb)
  • We have been crazy about cricket since our childhood.
  • They have been interested in fighting for a long time.
  • Have you been sick lately?
  • My friends have been a big fan of you.

Examples of ‘had been’ as a stative verb:

  • I had been sick for a month when she left me.
  • Rahul had been an amazing friend before Riya came in his life.
  • She had been mad about movies since her childhood.

NOTE: Here, been is the main verb (past participle of the verb BE), and has, have and had are helping verbs. Together, has been, have been, and had been are showing a state of being of the subject.

Different usages of has been, have been, and had been

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