Learn the rules and examples of using “has been” in sentences to describe ongoing actions, states, and more. Enhance your English grammar skills with our comprehensive guide.
Definition of Has Been
“Has been” is a phrase used in English grammar to refer to something that was once true or relevant in the past but is no longer the case. It is often used with the auxiliary verb “has” (present perfect tense) to indicate an action or state that occurred at some point in the past and has ongoing or lasting effects.
- “She has been a teacher for 20 years.” (She became a teacher 20 years ago and continues to be one.)
- “He has been to Paris.” (He visited Paris at some point in the past.)
In casual conversation, “has been” can also be used as a noun to refer to someone who was once famous or successful but is no longer in the spotlight. For example, “He used to be a famous actor, but now he’s just a has-been.” In this context, it carries a somewhat derogatory connotation, implying that the person’s fame or success has faded.
How is “Has Been” used in English? What are the rules of use of “Has Been”?
“Has been” is primarily used in English to form verb phrases in the present perfect tense, which is used to describe actions or states that began in the past and continue into the present or have a relevance to the present moment. The rules for using “has been” are as follows:
- Formation: “Has been” is formed by combining the auxiliary verb “has” (the third person singular form of “have”) with the past participle of the main verb. The past participle is typically formed by adding “-ed” to regular verbs (e.g., “worked,” “played”) or following irregular patterns for irregular verbs (e.g., “gone,” “written”).
- Subject-Verb Agreement: When using “has been,” ensure that the verb agrees with the subject in terms of person and number. For third-person singular subjects (he, she, it, or a singular noun), use “has.” For all other subjects, use “have been.”
- She has been studying for hours. (Third-person singular subject “She.”)
- They have been working hard. (Plural subject “They.”)
- Present Perfect Continuous Tense: “Has been” is often used to form the present perfect continuous tense, indicating an action or state that started in the past and is ongoing or has just ended. This tense is used to emphasize the duration or continuity of the action.
- I have been reading this book for a week. (Emphasizes the ongoing nature of reading.)
- She has been working at the company since 2010. (Indicates a continuous period of employment.)
- Relevance to the Present: The use of “has been” suggests that there is some relevance or connection to the present. It can convey that the action or state has an impact on the current situation or that it continues into the present.
- He has been sick, so he can’t attend the meeting today. (His sickness is relevant to his inability to attend the meeting.)
- Negative and Interrogative Forms: To form negative sentences or questions using “has been,” place “not” after “has” to create the negative form, and invert the subject and “has” to form questions.
- Negative: She has not been feeling well lately.
- Question: Has she been to Paris before?
- Contractions: In informal writing and speech, “has been” is often contracted to “hasn’t been” (negative) and “has been” (affirmative). For example:
- She hasn’t been here for a while. (Contraction of “has not been.”)
- He’s been working on the project. (Contraction of “has been.”)
Remember that the choice between “has been” and “have been” depends on the subject of the sentence, with “has been” used for third-person singular subjects and “have been” used for all other subjects. Additionally, the context and the specific time frame of the action or state play a role in determining whether to use the present perfect continuous tense with “has been” or the present perfect tense with “has/have + past participle.”
How to use the word Has Been in a sentence?
You can use “has been” in a sentence to describe actions or states that began in the past and have ongoing relevance to the present. Here are some examples of how to use “has been” in sentences:
- Describing an Ongoing Action:
- She has been working on the project all morning.
- The construction work has been noisy lately.
- Talking About an Ongoing State:
- He has been sick for a week.
- The company has been successful for many years.
- Indicating Duration:
- They have been married for 20 years.
- I have been studying English since I was a child.
- Expressing a Recent Event:
- The weather has been nice today.
- She has been in the hospital since yesterday.
- Making Negative Statements:
- He hasn’t been to the gym in a month.
- The car hasn’t been running well lately.
- Asking Questions:
- Has he been to that restaurant before?
- Have you been to this city before?
- Emphasizing Ongoing Activity:
- The kids have been playing outside for hours.
- She has been practicing the piano diligently.
- Connecting Past and Present:
- His research in college has been influential in his current career.
- Her childhood experiences have been shaping her worldview.
In each of these examples, “has been” is used to convey that the action or state began in the past and either continues into the present or has relevance to the present moment. The choice between “has been” and “have been” depends on the subject of the sentence, as “has” is used for third-person singular subjects (e.g., she, it, a singular noun), while “have” is used for all other subjects.