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Don’t get confused by the 4 varieties of ‘been’

Don’t get confused by the 4 varieties of ‘been’

Posted by Grant Richardson, 25th October, 2015

To help make English grammar seem less confusing, you should understand the 4 different types of ‘been’.

‘Been’ can be used as a main verb (two types) or as an auxiliary verb (two types) to a main verb:

1. ‘PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE’ MAIN VERB: PAST PARTICIPLE OF ‘BE’

I am not in love anymore. I was in love 3 years ago. I have been in love

He is skinny now. He was fat last year. He has been fat

How have you been lately?

2. ‘PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE’ MAIN VERB: PAST PARTICIPLE OF ‘GO (TO)’

I went to Egypt last year. I have been to Egypt.

Actually, I have been to a lot of different countries.

3. ‘PERFECT CONTINUOUS (ACTIVE)’ AUXILIARY VERB (PAST/PRESENT/FUTURE)

I started studying English in 2007. (Now, in 2015,) I have been studying it for eight years.

When I moved to England in 2009, I had been studying it for two years.

In two years from now, I will have been studying it for ten years!

What have you been doing lately?

4. ‘PERFECT SIMPLE OR CONTINUOUS PASSIVE’ AUXILIARY VERB (PAST/PRESENT/FUTURE)

(Present perfect simple passive) I can’t find my mobile phone. I think it has been stolen.

Note that the following tenses (perfect continuous passives) are rarely used:

(Present perfect continuous passive) All the wireless keyboards in this computer room have been being used for over a year since their batteries were replaced.

(Past perfect continuous passive) And before that, they had been being used for two years.

(Future perfect continuous passive) So, I think they will have been being used for at least another six months before their batteries go flat.

 

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