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Began vs. Begun — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 26, 2023
Began is the past tense of "begin," indicating a started action. Begun is the past participle, used with "have" to show a completed action.
Began vs. Begun — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Began and Begun


Key Differences

Began and Begun both derive from the verb "begin," but their uses in sentences differ based on tense and structure.
Began is the simple past tense, used to indicate that an action started but might not be completed. For instance, "She began reading a book."
On the other hand, Begun is the past participle form. It requires an auxiliary verb, typically "has" or "have," to show that an action was initiated and then completed. For instance, "She has begun a new project."

Comparison Chart


Simple Past
Past Participle


Indicates a started action.
Used with "have" to show completed action.

Auxiliary Verb Required

Yes (e.g., has/have)


"She began working."
"She has begun working."

Common Mistake

Using without an auxiliary verb.

Compare with Definitions


The past tense form of "begin".
The movie began at 7.


The past participle form of "begin".
The project has begun.


Used to introduce an event in the past.
The ceremony began with a song.


Indicates an action that started and may or may not have been completed.
The construction has already begun.


Denotes the initiation of a process.
The team began their research.


Used with an auxiliary verb to show action progression.
They have begun to understand the implications.


Indicates the start of an action.
He began writing his thesis.


Denotes an initiated action in relation to another event.
By the time I arrived, the event had already begun.


Refers to the origin or starting point of something.
The trend began in Europe.


Suggests the commencement of an activity in the more distant past.
The course had begun when she joined.


Past tense of begin.


For Begun farmer's movement see Begun movement. For people with Begun surname see Begun (surname).Begun is a city and a municipality in Chittaurgarh district in the state of Rajasthan, India.Begu was offered along with Gothlai to Chunda ji, crown prince of mewar in 15th century AD, and so it was ruled by the Chundawat sisodia Rajputs of Mewar.


(obsolete) begin


Past participle of begin.


Inflection of begin

Common Curiosities

Do Began and Begun have the same meaning?

They both relate to the start of an action but are used in different tenses.

What is the main difference between Began and Begun?

Began is the past tense; Begun is the past participle used with "have".

Why is the phrase "She has began" incorrect?

Because "has" requires the past participle form "begun".

Which one should I use to indicate an action started in the past?

Use "Began" for simple past tense actions.

Which is more formal, Began or Begun?

Neither is more formal; their usage depends on tense.

Is it correct to say "She begun the work"?

No, it should be "She began the work" or "She has begun the work".

Can I use Begun by itself in a sentence?

No, Begun requires an auxiliary verb, such as "has" or "have".

Are these terms used differently in British vs. American English?

No, their usage is consistent in both versions.

Is "Begin" the base form of both Began and Begun?

Yes, "Begin" is the present form of the verb.

How can I remember the difference between Began and Begun?

Remember "Began" is simple past; "Begun" pairs with "has/have/had".

Can I say "The work has been began"?

No, it should be "The work has been begun".

Why is tense important when choosing between Began and Begun?

Because it determines the correct form and clarity of the action's timing.

Is it ever correct to say "They begun their journey"?

No, it should be "They began their journey" or "They have begun their journey".

Are there other verbs like "Begin" that have similar distinctions in past forms?

Yes, like "sing" (sang/sung) or "drink" (drank/drunk).

Do all verbs in English have a distinct past tense and past participle form?

No, but many irregular verbs do, like "Begin".

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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