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Home > Language > Grammar > Were and Had Been Compared

Difference Between Were and Had Been

Were vs Had Been

Were and Had been are two words that are used in English grammar differently when it comes to their usage. The auxiliary verb ‘were’ is the plural form of the verb ‘are’ in past tense. On the other hand, the form ‘had been’ is used in past perfect continuous tense. It is in fact the past perfect continuous tense form of the present perfect continuous tense form ‘has been’. This is the main difference between the two words.

Observe the two sentences,

1. They were beaten.

2. The students were taken to a near by park.

In both the sentences, the word ‘were’ is used in the past tense of the two sentences ‘they are beaten’ and ‘the students are taken to a near by park’ respectively.

Observe the two sentences,

1. They had been living in this house for a long time.

2. She had been writing for quite a long time.

In both the sentences, you can see that the word ‘had been’ is used in the past perfect continuous tense.

It is interesting to note that the past perfect form of ‘had been’ is sometimes used to convey the meaning of ‘visited’ as in the sentences

1. I had been to London twice.

2. She had been to my house before.

In both the sentences, you can find that the word ‘had been’ is used in the sense of ‘visited’ and hence, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘I visited London twice’, and the meaning of the second sentence would be ‘she visited my house before’.

The past perfect form ‘had been’ is sometimes used in the sense of ‘in case’ or ‘suppose’ as in the sentences,

1. Had you been in this situation before, you would have realized the truth by now.

2. Had she been in her house when you went, she would have received you with respect.

In both the sentences, you can find that the word ‘had been’ is used in the sense of ‘in case’ and hence, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘in case you were in this situation before, you would have realized the truth by now’, and the meaning of the second sentence would be ‘in case she was in her house when you went, she would have received you with respect’. These are the differences between the two words, namely, ‘were’ and ‘had been’.


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Related posts:

  1. Difference Between Past and Past Perfect
  2. Difference Between Past and Past Participle
  3. Difference Between Past and Present Perfect
  4. Difference Between Went and Gone
  5. Difference Between Gone and Been

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