How To Use ‘Has Been / Have Been’ and ‘Had Been’ Correctly

How To Use ‘Has Been / Have Been’ and ‘Had Been’ Correctly

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Have you been wondering the correct way to use ‘Has Been / Have Been’ and ‘Had Been’? Or, had you been wondering the right method to use ‘Has Been / Have Been’ and ‘Had Been’? Today in #allYouGottaDoIsAsk, we answer a question from a friend:

Baini, apa beza ‘has been’ dengan ‘had been’?

-RR

‘Has been or have been’ is something that we notice people using inaccurately as ‘had been’. And this can also happen the other way around. Before delving into the right ways to use the terms, let’s first understand why we generally, as Malaysians, have a loose grasp on the correct use of ‘has been or have been’ and ‘had been’.

  1. Bahasa Melayu does not differentiate its verbs into future/present/past tenses.
  2. Both ‘has/have been’ and ‘had been’ indicate something that happened in the past

The above is besides the fact that Malaysians are highly tolerant, of course. Which is great when you are trying to bargain at a pasar malam, but not at a job interview. Possessing an accurate, clear, and concise communication skills will take your career further if you wish so. Being able to communicate well enables instructions to be passed on clearly which saves time and effort.

Having a good grasp of grammar allows for clear communication, professionalism, and confidence. And the good news is, you don’t have to go back to primary school to relearn grammar rules. You have The Grammar Helpline for that! So now let’s begin with some examples so that we can learn how to use ‘has been or have been’ and ‘had been’ correctly.

Example 1: I have been waiting for such inventions my entire life!

Note that the sentence above uses ‘have been’ for the noun ‘I’.

Example 1 talks about a person who was talking about inventions that she/he hopes to see for many years before the conversation took place. Note that the verb ‘hopes’ is in Present Tense. This means that he/she is still hoping at the time the conversation happened.

The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence would be: “Seumur hidup saya menunggu ciptaan sebegitu!”

Note that the Bahasa Melayu translation carries the meaning that such invention has yet to exist from the use of the word ‘sebegitu‘. Referencing an object using ‘sebegitu‘ means ‘something like that‘ and we can assume the inexistence of such object to date.

As the invention has yet to exist and we are still hoping, the Present Perfect Tense ‘have been‘ is used in this sentence.

Example 2: I had been waiting for such inventions my entire life!

Example 2 talks about a person who was talking about inventions he had hoped to see for many years before the conversation took place. Note that the verb ‘hoped’ is in Past Tense. This means that she/he had stopped hoping at the time the conversation happened, presumably because such invention has existed.

The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence would be: “Seumur hidup saya menunggu ciptaan sebegini!

Note that the Bahasa Melayu translation carries the meaning that such invention has existed from the use of the word ‘sebegini‘. Referencing an object using ‘sebegini’ means ‘something like this‘ and we can assume the existence of such object to date.

As the invention has existed and we are no longer hoping, the Past Perfect Tense ‘had been‘ is used in this sentence.

Example 3. She has been attending her school reunion.

Note that the sentence above uses ‘has been’ for the noun ‘she’.

Example 3 talks about a female that attends her school reunion regularly. Note the verb ‘attends’ is in Present Tense. This means that she still attends her school reunion events when planned.

The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence would be: “Dia selalunya hadir ke majlis pertemuan semula sekolahnya.”

Note that the Bahasa Melayu translation carries the meaning that she regularly attends her school reunion from the use of the word ‘selalunya‘. Referencing a frequency using ‘selalunya‘ means ‘regularly’ and we can assume her attendance to her school reunion still happens to date.

As she still attends her school reunion, the Present Perfect Tense ‘has been‘ is used in this sentence.

Example 4. She had been attending her school reunion.

Example 4 talks about a female that attended her school reunion regularly. Note the verb ‘attended’ is in Past Tense. This means that she had stopped attending her school reunion events.

The Bahasa Melayu translation for this sentence would be: “Dia dahulunya hadir ke majlis pertemuan semula sekolahnya.”

Note that the Bahasa Melayu translation carries the meaning that she used to regularly attend her school reunion from the use of the word ‘dahulunya‘. Referencing a frequency using ‘dahulunya‘ means ‘previously’ and we can assume her attendance to her school reunion had stopped to date.

As she stopped attending her school reunion, the Past Perfect Tense ‘had been‘ is used in this sentence.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, ‘has been or have been’ is used when something STILL happens while ‘had been’ is used when something NO LONGER happens. ‘Has been atau have been’ digunakan ke atas perkara yang MASIH berlaku manakala ‘had been’ digunakan untuk perkara yang TIDAK LAGI berlaku.

I hope you now understand the simple difference between the use of ‘has been or have been’ VS ‘had been’. If you wish to receive beneficial knowledge such as this directly to your Inbox, you may subscribe to the Baini Mustafa Weekly Email here.

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