Has Been vs Was: Difference and Comparison

‘Has been’ is used in sentences when we refer to to ‘importance or usefulness of an entity in the past’. The word ‘has been’ in the current sense originates from the 1700s.

‘Has been’ refers to an entity as already happened according to the present perspective. It is a form of present tense.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Has been” is the present perfect tense of the verb “to be,” indicating that an action or state began in the past and continues up to the present or has a connection with the present.
  2. “Was” is the simple past tense of the verb “to be,” indicating that an action or state occurred in the past and is completed or not connected with the present.
  3. Both “has been” and “was” indicate past actions or states, but “has been” connects the past with the present, while “was” refers to a completed past action or state.

Has Been vs Was

The difference between the words ‘has been’ and ‘was’ can be compared based on their definition, use, form of a tense, who these words refer to, and what these words indicate and with an example.

Has been vs Was

Let us understand the use of the word ‘has been’ more clearly by using this word in a sentence. For example, ‘the software application download has been paused’.


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Here the word ‘has been’ is used to describe an event (an event of downloading) happening in the past, but now it has been paused.

Now, let us discuss using the word ‘was’ through a sentence. Let us consider an easy sentence constituting the word ‘was’. For example, ‘John was riding a skateboard yesterday’.

Here the word ‘was’ only describes the occurrence of an event or an action (riding) in the past (yesterday).


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHas BeenWas
DefinitionIt is defined as an entity that used to be necessary.It is defined as the past indicative of ‘be’.
Form of TenseIt is a form of present perfect continuous tense.It is a form of past continuous tense.
UseIt describes the relevance of an already occurred event in the present.It is used to describe the occurrence of an event in the past.
ReferenceIt refers to a singular noun (for example- he, she, it)It relates to first-person singular (example- I, me, myself) and third-person singular (example- he, she, it)
Points of IndicationIt indicates the time of an event or an action in the past and its importance in the present.It indicates the happening of an event or an action in the past.
ExampleDonald has been sleeping for five hours now.The company was involved in many fraud cases.


What is ‘Has Been’?

‘Has been’ is regarded as present perfect continuous tense. It is used to describe the occurrence of an event in the past and its relevance at the present moment. 

Present perfect continuous tense is defined as an action that starts in the past and continues in the present.

The word ‘has been’ is used for various purposes in an interrogation to describe the present status of an event and active and passive voice sentences.

The word ‘has been’ used in the sentence considers two critical points regarding the situation. Firstly, an event that has happened in the past.

Secondly, it also hints about the importance of an event or an action (happening in the past) in the present scenario.


What is ‘Was’?

The word ‘was’ is used in place of ‘be’. It is a simple tense.

It only infers that the event has already occurred. It is used in the statement of fact.

The word ‘was’ states that an event has already occurred.

The use of the word ‘was’ only points towards the time of the happening of an action. It does not suggest the relevance of an event in the present scenario. 

‘Was’ is used with first-person singular forms like ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘myself’, and ‘mine’ and third-person singular forms like ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, etc.


Main Differences Between ‘Has been’ and ‘Was’

  1. The word ‘has been’ is a present perfect continuous tense. The term ‘was’ is past continuous tense.
  2. ‘Has been’ suggests the time of occurrence of an event and also its relevance. ‘Was’ only indicates at the time of occurrence of an event.
  3. The word ‘has been’ is only used in the third-person singular form. On the other hand, the term ‘was’ can be used in the first-person and third-person singular forms.
  4. ‘Has been’ confirms the status of an event that has already happened in the past. ‘Was’ does not imply the status of an already occurred event.
  5. ‘Has been’ suggests that an event occurred in the past and is continued now. ‘Was’ states the fact that an event has already occurred.

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