Have been, Has been and Had been

Have been, Has been and Had been

Hello dear reader!

My name is Collins, a student of the University of Benin currently studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering but I love English. 

Today I’ll be sharing some brilliant idea on the actual and correct use of the words; Have been, Has been and Had been. 

Most users of the word don’t actually get the concept and this brings a little confusion when using the word. Sometimes you just get confused on which to use. Should I say I have been there or I had been there? 

Well let’s get straight to the lessons. I’ll be highlighting three different use of the words Have been, Has been and Had been. 

Have been, Has been and Had been

Have been

Has been

Had been

Have been 

(Present) – is used for plural noun (I, You, They, We) 

I have been

The cats have been

They have been

We have been 

Has been

Is used for singular noun (He, She, It) and uncountable nouns.

He has been

She has been

The water has been

It has been. 

Had been

Is used for past tense. Here the past tense had been can be used for both Plural and singular nouns. 

They had been

She had been

We had been and so on. 

Now let’s get to the three different ways the words can be used.

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First use of Have been, Has been, Had been. 

Travel Experience

They are used for travel experience. I’ll share some examples below. 

1. We have been to Cameroon many times. 

2. We Have visited The University of Benin 3 times

3. We have been to The University of Benin 3 times. 

4. I have been to UNILAG 3 times

5. I have visited UNILAG 3 times. 

It can also be used for questions like; 

Have you been to The University of Benin before? 

Yes, I have been to The University of Benin many times. 

NOTE: we cannot talk about specific time. Example below; 

I’ve been to UNILAG last year (WRONG) 

Now let’s talk about the use of past tense – Had been 

Had been can only be used when talking about two events in the past.

1. When I visited Milan last year, I had never been to Italy before. 

Second use of Have been, Has been and Had been

Let’s discuss the second use – the present perfect continuous form. 

Have been, Has been and Had been can also be used for actions or situation that happened in the past and are still continuing.

Have been

1. I’ve been studying English for 3 years. 

2. I’ve been studying English since 2017. 

Take note of the time frame here, For and Since. 

For – the length of time I’ve been studying English and I’m still studying English. 

Since – the start of my English study. Since 2017 and I’m still studying. 

More examples below; 

3. We have been together for 3 years. 

4. We have been together since 3 years. 

Has been

1. Afrokit has been watching TV for 4 hours. 

2. Afrokit has been watching TV since 3am. 

All of these examples both in Have and Has are all continuous. 

Had been

I’ll use the same examples above to explain Had. 

1. I had been studying English for 3 years when I left the school.

2. We had been together for 3 years when we broke up. 

3. Afrokit had been watching TV since 3am when he stopped some house work. 

Now take note of both events, they are both past tense but one continues. 

We had been dating for 3 years – continuous 

When we broke up – the end of our relationship. 

Third use of Have been, Has been and Had been.

We use them for passive voice.

 This is not common but important that you know it because you’ve definitely come across it before. 

1. Your offer has been accepted – passive voice. 

The active voice for this statement would be – The seller had accepted your offer. 

We use passive voice to shift concentration from ourselves. For example; a politician will likely say

2. Mistakes have been made – passive voice.  

But the active voice for this would be; 

I have made mistakes. 

He wouldn’t want to say he has made mistakes so he’d definitely say; mistakes have been made. 

Now how do we use Had been for passive voice. This is very uncommon but it’s quite important you know it. 

1. The marketing campaign had just been launched when the agency shut down. 

2. The plane had been waiting for fuel when the pilot noticed a fault in the engine. 

Two event occurred here,

 one the plane had been waiting for fuel  

And two the pilot noticed a fault in the engine. 

Now I’ll drop some test questions for you to practice. I want you to drop your answers in the comment section below. I will attend to your answers and if I don’t get to correct you on time just help yourselves with the correct answers. 

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Questions – Drop your answer in the comment. 

1. ___ you ___ to Lagos before? 

2. She ___ ___ waiting for the doctor since 9am. 

3. A gang ___ ___ arrested on suspicion of various crimes. 

4. He ___ ___ searching for a job for 3 months when he got invited for an interview. 

5. Your letters ___ ___ delayed in the post. 

I’ll be expecting to see your answers in the comment section. Please note that I’m not an authorized English teacher. I made research on various books and italk academy before writing this article. 

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. jcyranking

    May 9, 2020 at 15:49

    Thank you for spending some time reading my English article.
    If you’re seeing this, I want you to answer the questions above according to your best knowledge. I promise to give recommendation or correction almost immediately.

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