Been vs. Being
The proper usage of grammar has been a very big issue, most especially for those who are not native English speakers. It has also been a challenge for many, as to how to properly use some of the English language’s tenses, when there seems to be a lot more than just the plain old past, present and future tenses. In this regard, two words have been quite a nuisance for English beginners, and these are been and being.
If you are confused with the usage of the two, here is a simplified explanation of its proper usage and differences. Foremost, both words are classified as participles, which is simply explained as their ‘to be’ notations. Being is specifically identified as the present participle, whereas been is the past participle. In this connection, it is important to note that almost all present participles have their verb forms ending in ‘ing’, like walking and dancing, (so these verbs are in their present participle tense). The ending of past participles, on the other hand, happen to be in ‘ed’ form, like walked or danced, but there are a few irregular notations, such as swum and spoken.
Being as the present participle, can be used in situations that happen in the present, in a continuous or progressive sense, and in the passive voice or tone. For example, French subjects are being taught in Washington. Thus, it is clear that the action is being done in a continuous fashion. Similarly, being can also be applied in past situations that are still continuous, like, ‘French subjects were being taught when I came to Washington’. Clearly, it is evident that the action was continuous at a certain point in the past.
On the contrary, been as the past participle, and in its passive voice, is applicable in many tenses or situations like the following:
Ã˜ Present perfect tense ‘“ She’s been to Washington thrice.
Ã˜ Present perfect progressive tense ‘“ She’s been working in Washington thrice.
Ã˜ Past perfect tense ‘“ She’s never been in Washington before.
Ã˜ Past perfect progressive tense ‘“ When she came to Washington for the first time, she had been learning French for four years.
Ã˜ Present perfect tense in its passive notation ‘“ French students have been educated sufficiently.
Ã˜ Past perfect tense in its passive form ‘“ John did very well in his exam. The lesson had been taught very objectively.
1. Being is present participle, whereas been is past participle.
2. Been can be applied to more tenses compared to being.