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Confusing Words: Being and Been

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The words ‘being’ and ‘been’ are sometimes confused. As a rule the word ‘been’ is always used after ‘have’ whereas ‘being’ is never used after ‘have’. It is used after ‘be’.

'Been' is the past participle of the verb 'be' and is usually used with the perfect aspect with ‘have’ in all its forms i.e. had and has
I have been busy. NOT I have being busy.

'being' is the present participle of the verb 'be' and can be used with the continuous form of the verb 'be' is all its forms i.e. am, is, was, are and were.
When I arrived at the scene of the accident the victim was being placed in an ambulance.
I don't know why but John is being really difficult today.

Being as a noun

The word 'being' can also be used as a noun.
A human being.

Being as a gerund

The word 'being' can be used as a gerund which is a type of noun.
Do all actors like being famous?
His being clumsy caused the accident.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Now complete the following using the correct form of been or being:

  • 1. You have _ very helpful this week.



  • 2. The children have not _ naughty.



  • 3. The film is _ shown in 3D in all cinemas.



  • 4. All Sarah’s paintings are _ sold



  • 5. Peter is _ accused of stealing office stationery.



  • 6. I think alcohol may have _ a factor in increased aggression among teenagers.