Has Been vs. Have Been vs. Had Been: Usage Guide (+Examples)

The English language is sometimes a confusing whirlwind of information and rules, and verb rules are no different from that. Just look at the phrase “has, have, had, been” as an example. There are three ways to say seemingly the same thing. So what is the difference, and how do we apply the grammar rules?

What Is The Difference Between Has Been Vs Have Been Vs Had Been?

“Has been” should be used when you’re writing in the third person singular (he, she, it) and singular nouns to say that something began in the past and is still happening. “Have been” should be used when you’re writing in the first and second person singular (I, you, we, they) or using a plural noun and means the same as “has been.” “Had been” should be used when something happened and ended in the past and is no longer happening.

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5 Examples Of How To Use Has Been In A Sentence

Now that we’ve got the main rules out of the way, it’s time to get a bit more specific. Let’s look at the use of has been in a sentence and how we can make it work for us. Remember, we only use “has been” when talking in the third person singular form or using singular nouns, and you’ll notice why in a second. We can say “he has” or “she has,” but saying “I has” or “they has” doesn’t make any sense. That’s something you’ll pick up over time.

  • He has been through it already.
  • The event has been postponed until further notice.
  • She has been here for long enough.
  • It has been too long.
  • The dog has been out all night.

In each case here, we see how we can use “has been” with either the third person singular (he, she, it) or a singular noun (the dog or the event). It’s referring to something that began in the past but is still happening in the present.

5 Examples Of How To Use Have Been In A Sentence

“Have been” follows very similar rules to “has been” above; it just uses different pronouns and noun forms. We use “have been” in the first person singular (I, you) and the second person singular (we, they) or when we’re using plural nouns (the dogs). Again, it makes sense to use something like “I have” or “you have,” but “he have” and “the dog have” don’t make much sense and should be avoided.

  • I have been with you for a long time.
  • You have been my friend for as long as I can remember.
  • The dogs have been through the garbage again.
  • We have been to the end of the world and back again.
  • They have been gone for an awfully long time.

Notice how in each case, we’re writing with the forms mentioned above. You can see both the first and second person singular, as well as the plural noun form to see when we would use “have been.” Like “has been,” the event in question started happening in the past and is still happening in the present.

5 Examples Of How To Use Had Been In A Sentence

Now we get to the slightly different form of the phrase, “had been.” “Had been” is unique because it doesn’t matter what form you use when you’re writing about it. All of the forms mentioned above will work with the phrase “had been.” First, second, and the third person singular forms are all acceptable, as well as both singular and plural nouns. So, what makes “had been” so different?

  • I had been gone, but now I’m back.
  • She had been gone for ages.
  • They had been out of town for months.
  • The dogs had been to the park today.
  • The dog had been out already.

You might already recognize what stands this one out compared to the rest. We mentioned it earlier, but each scenario here happened in the past and finished in the past. In every case, no matter what form is used, we’re talking about something that has already ended, so we leave it in the past tense form “had.”

Is It Correct To Use Has Being, Have Being, Or Had Being?

So, what happens when we change the word “been” to “being?” Has being grammar and have being grammar rules might seem like they should follow the same trend, but the truth is they are both grammatically incorrect. The same goes for had being. In no case should you ever use “being” after any of the three words.

The simple reason why is because “being” is the present participle of “to be.” We can’t use “being” because it’s a present participle. We’re always referring to past events with the phrases “has been, “have been,” and “had been.” For that reason, we simply can’t write the present form “being” after the words because the tenses get all confused and the grammar rules are thrown out the window! Make sure you don’t make this mistake in the future!

Quiz: Have You Mastered The Have, Has, Had Grammar Rules?

We’ve covered all we need to know about the have, has had grammar rules. You should be familiar with everything they mean and how you might use them in a sentence, but we’re going to test you to see how much you retained! Don’t worry! We’ll include the answers at the end for you to compare once you’re done. You can always go back and correct the ones you got wrong. Good luck.

  1. We (A. have been / B. has been / C. had been) gone.
  2. You (A. have been / B. has been / C. had been) out of my life, and now you’re back.
  3. She (A. have been / B. has been / C. had been) everything to me.
  4. The cats (A. have been / B. has been / C. had been) out all day yesterday.
  5. I (A. have been / B. has been / C. had been) your best friend for decades.

Quiz Answers

  1. A
  2. C
  3. B
  4. C
  5. A

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