Being and Been
The Quick AnswerWhat is the difference between been and being?
Use been after the verb to have (e.g., has, have, had, having). For example:
- I have been to Paris.
- The puma has been seen in the city.
- The greatest benefit is being in Paris.
- He was being an idiot.
Being and BeenWriters occasionally confuse the words being and been. As a rule, the word been is always used after have (in any form, e.g., has, had, will have, having). The word being is never used after have. Being is used after to be (in any form, e.g., am, is, are, was, were).
- I have been busy.
- Terry has being taking the stores to the shelter. (Remember, being cannot follow the verb to have (here, has).)
Being as a NounThe word being can also be a noun. For example:
- A human being
- A strange being stepped out of the space ship.
Being as a GerundThe word being can also be a gerund (which is a type of noun). For example:
- Do you like being so ignorant?
- The accident was caused by his being so clumsy.
- I live in terror of not being misunderstood. (Oscar Wilde)
Been and Being Are ParticiplesBeing is the present participle of the verb to be. (For comparison, cooking is the present participle of the verb to cook.)
Been is the past participle of the verb to be. (For comparison, cooked is the past participle of the verb to cook.)
Often participles are used as adjectives before nouns, but being and been are not used this way. Look at these examples with the past participles deleted and broken and the present participles cooking and running.
- Broken link.
- Deleted file.
- Cooking sauce.
- Running shoes.
- The been car. (What does this mean? The car that used to be a car? This is nonsense.)
- The being tree. (The tree that is a tree? This is nonsense.)
- He is being stupid.
- He is been stupid. (Remember, been goes with has.)
- He has been stupid.
- Being such a lazy oaf, Tony often drives to the nearby shops. (Being such a lazy oaf is a participle phrase that describes Tony.)