Being and Been

The Quick Answer
What 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.
Use being after the verb to be (e.g., am, is, are, was, were). For example:
  • The greatest benefit is being in Paris.
  • He was being an idiot.

Being and Been

Writers 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 Noun

The word being can also be a noun. For example:
  • A human being
  • A strange being stepped out of the space ship.

Being as a Gerund

The 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)
Interactive Test

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are adjectives? What are nouns? What are pronouns? What are gerunds? What are verbs? What are past participles? What are auxiliary verbs? List of easily confused words