Have been vs Has been vs Had been – What is the difference?

“Have been” and “Has been” are the present perfect simple form of the verb “to be”. “Had been” is the past perfect simple of the verb “to be”. We use “have been” for the subjects  I, you, we, and they. We use “has been” with the subjects he, she, and it. 

Have been/Has been meaning

Have been and has been are the present perfect simple form of the verb “to be”.

The meaning of “have been” and “has been” depends on the context. 

Some meanings include:

To visit a place(once or multiple times)

To show that some feeling or state started in the past and is still true.

To form the present perfect continuous

Have been/Has been examples

I have been to China.

She has been to Japan.

I have been tired a lot lately.

She has been great.

I have been swimming every day this week.

He has been walking all day. 

Had been meaning

“Had been” is the past perfect simple of the verb “to be”. The past perfect is used to show something that happened before another activity in the past. We use “had been” for all subjects.

Some meanings of “had been” include:

To show that you visited a place before something else happened. 

To show that you had some feeling before something else happened.

To form the past perfect continuous

Had been examples

I had been in the hall before I went to the kitchen.

I had been married before I met you.

We had been walking all morning and that is why we were tired. 

Have been or Had been

We use “have been” when there is a connection to the present and “had been” when there is a connection to another past tense event.

We sometimes use have been in the past to show experiences in our life.

I have been to Zimbabwe.

I have been skydiving.

We also use “have been” to show that something started in the past and continues into the present. 

I have been training a lot recently.

I have been tired all morning.(morning is not finished time)

We use “had been” when we want to show that something happened before another event.”Had been” often explains why something else happened in the past.

I was feeling very sick. I had been drinking the night before. 

When to use “has been”?

We use “has been” with the present perfect simple of the verb “to be” for the subject he,she, and it.

I have been

You have been

He has been 

She has been

It has been

We have been 

They have been  

Was and Were Been?

“Was Been” and “Were Been” are both incorrect and should never be used in English.

It can be easy to confuse “was been” with “was being”. “Was being” is correct.

I was being sarcastic.

He was being a jerk.