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“Has Been,” “Have Been,” and “Had Been” Difference – PDF


Understanding the differences between “has been,” “have been,” and “had been” is crucial for mastering English grammar.”Have been,” “has been,” and “had been” are forms of the verb “to be.”

We use “has been” with singular subjects (e.g., he, she, it). “Have been” is used with plural subjects and the pronouns I, we, and they. “Had been” is the past perfect form and is used to indicate actions completed before a certain point in the past.”

Present Perfect Tense: “Has Been” and “Have Been”

Present Perfect Tense


What Do They Mean?

“Has been” and “have been” are used in the present perfect tense. They describe actions that began in the past and continue into the present or were recently completed.


  • “Has been”: Used with third-person singular subjects (he, she, it).
  • “Have been”: Used with first-person singular (I), second-person singular and plural (you), and third-person plural subjects (we, they).


Has Been:

  1. He/She/It:
    • Example: He has been working at this company for ten years. (He started working there ten years ago and is still working there.)
    • Example: The dog has been barking all night. (The barking started earlier in the night and continues now.)

Have Been:

  1. I/We/They/You:
    • Example: I have been looking for my keys all morning. (I started looking in the morning and am still looking.)
    • Example: They have been studying hard for the exams. (Their study started in the past and continues.)

Common Mistakes

  1. Using the Wrong Subject:
    • Incorrect: He have been playing football.
    • Correct: He has been playing football.
  1. Incorrect Time Frame:
    • Incorrect: They has been here yesterday.
    • Correct: They have been here since yesterday.

Tips for Remembering

  • “Has been”: Think of singular subjects (he, she, it) – He has, She has, It has.
  • “Have been”: Think of plural or other singular subjects (I, we, they, you) – I have, We have, They have, You have.


Past Perfect Tense: “Had Been”

Have Been & Has Been Difference

What Does It Mean?

“Had been” is used in the past perfect tense to describe an action that started in the past, continued for some time, and ended before another action took place.


  • “Had been”: Used with all subjects (I, you, he, she, it, we, they).


  1. Example: They had been talking for over an hour before Laila arrived. (The talking started, continued for an hour, and then ended when Laila arrived.)
  2. Example: The children had been excited about the trip until it was canceled. (The excitement started, lasted until the cancellation, and then ended.)

Common Mistakes

  1. Confusing Present and Past:
    • Incorrect: I have been living here before she moved in.
    • Correct: I had been living here before she moved in.
  2. Incorrect Sequence of Events:
    • Incorrect: She had been finishing her homework when the power went out.
    • Correct: She had been doing her homework when the power went out.

Tips for Remembering

  • “Had been”: Always think about two events – the first one that was ongoing and finished before the second event occurred.

Quick Reference Table

Has beenThird-person singular subjectsHe has been waiting for an hour.
Have beenI, we, you, they, plural subjectsThey have been planning the party.
Had beenAll subjects, for past actionsShe had been reading before the lights went out.
Have Been & Has Been & Had Been


“Have Been”, “Has Been”, “Had Been” Table

Have BeenHas BeenHad Been
FormPresent Perfect ContinuousPresent PerfectPast Perfect
MeaningAction started in the past and continues to the presentAction started in the past and continues to the present-Action started and finished before another past action
-“Had been,”, suggests an action that both began and ended in the past.
ExampleThey have been studying for 3 hours. (still studying)He has been studying for 3 hours. (still studying)-I had been studying for 3 hours before leaving my room.

-He had been studying for an hour before he decided to stop.

Test Your Understanding

Try this interactive quiz to test your understanding of “has been,” “have been,” and “had been”:

  1. He ______ (work) at the company since 2010.
  2. They ______ (study) for hours before the exam started.
  3. I ______ (wait) here all morning.
  4. She ______ (live) in New York for five years before moving to Los Angeles.
  5. You ______ (be) very helpful throughout this project.

Check your answers:

1. has been working / 2.had been studying / 3. have been waiting / 4. had been living/ 5. have been

You can also take a short quiz on the difference between Have Been, Has Been, Had Been here.


Have Been, Has Been, Had Been Exercises

Have Been, Has Been, Had Been Exercise PDF – download

Have Been, Has Been, Had Been Lesson with Examples PDF – download 

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Please help.
The following sentence needs to be in the passive voice.
My bag had been stolen when I was on my way home. The thief was arrested shortly after. Is this correct? Or should it be “has been stolen” or “was stolen” Thanks

Has been is correct

Are you sure? The action hapoened and finished in the past. I mean, “when I WAS on my way home”, is the past simple. So, shouldn’t it be HAD BEEN?

You are correct that was past which already happened so according to that it shall be had been

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Finally I have learned the difference between has been, had been, have been. Nice!

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Last edited 3 years ago by Gayan

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I don’t know about had been and have been.. Finally I have clearly.. Thanks for this..

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