Ask Difference

Is vs. Has Been — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on November 26, 2023
"Is" presents a current state or action, while "has been" indicates a past action that relates to the present, often used in the present perfect tense.
Is vs. Has Been — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Is and Has Been

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Key Differences

The verb "is" stands as a singular form of the verb "be," signaling a state or condition in the present tense. It conveys a current situation, characteristic, or identity. "Is" is applied to singular subjects, linking the subject to a state of being, condition, or attribute. For instance, in the sentence "She is a doctor," "is" links the subject "She" to the attribute of being a doctor, designating a current status or role.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023
Contrarily, "has been" incorporates an aspect of time into the scenario, referencing an action that began in the past and carries implications for the present state. "Has been" is utilized in the present perfect tense, expressing a continuous action from the past to the present. When stating "He has been studying," it implies that "He" began studying in the past and continues to study now, highlighting an ongoing action.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023
"Is," with its focus on the present, does not provide information about any preceding actions or states. It strictly relates to the current moment, facilitating expressions about identities, states, or locations. For instance, “The cat is on the roof” provides current location information about the cat, without detailing any historical context or previous locations.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023
"Has been," offering a temporal bridge, conveys a sustained activity or condition spanning from past to present. It imparts that an action was initiated in the past and has either continued into the present or has an impact on the current situation. So, saying “She has been to Paris” implies a past action (visiting Paris) that is relevant to the present context.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023
While "is" typically necessitates a complement to describe or identify the subject, "has been" can stand alone or be followed by a present participle, introducing an element of ongoing action. "Is" illustrates an immediate state: “The window is open.” Conversely, “The shop has been open” suggests the shop opened at some point in the past and remains open, intertwining past actions with the present state.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Tense

Present
Present Perfect
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Time Frame

Current Moment
Past Action Related to Present
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Use

Links Subject to State/Attribute
Indicates Ongoing Past to Present Action
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Form

Singular of Be
Has/Have + Been
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Nov 26, 2023

Example Usage

The cat is happy.
The cat has been happy.
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Nov 26, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Is

Third person singular of be.
He is a lawyer.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Has Been

Form in present perfect tense.
She has been to London.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is

Describes location.
The bank is next to the mall.
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Oct 07, 2023

Has Been

Signifies ongoing action from past to present.
He has been working for hours.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is

Connects subject to description.
The film is interesting.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Has Been

Denotes continuous past to present action.
She has been running every day.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is

Identifies a condition.
She is unwell today.
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Oct 07, 2023

Has Been

Indicates a past relevant action or state.
The weather has been pleasant.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is

Links subject to a state.
The cake is delicious.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Has Been

Infers a state/action affecting the present.
He has been a helpful friend.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is

Third person singular present indicative of be.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Has Been

One that is no longer famous, popular, successful, or useful.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is

Used in phrases with existential there when the semantic subject is a third-person plural.
There is three of them there.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Has Been

(pejorative) A person, especially one formerly popular or influential, who continues in their field after their popularity or effectiveness has peaked and is now in decline.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is

(Geordie) me.
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Oct 07, 2023

Has Been

Someone who is no longer popular
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Oct 07, 2023

Is

(rare) i's.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Is

The third person singular of the substantive verb be, in the indicative mood, present tense; as, he is; he is a man. See Be.
For thy is I come, and eke Alain.
Aye is thou merry.
To-morrow is the new moon.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 07, 2023

Common Curiosities

When do we use "is"?

"Is" is used to denote a present state, condition, or identity.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

What does "has been" imply?

"Has been" implies a past action or state with relevance or continuation to the present.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "is" link to a past state?

No, "is" does not provide information about past states or actions.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "is" represent a future action?

No, "is" primarily discusses the current state or action.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "is" be used in a question?

Yes, e.g., "Is this the right way?"
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "has been" indicate a completed action?

Yes, if the action has relevance to or impact on the present moment.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Does "is" convey duration?

No, "is" only discusses the state or action in the present moment.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

How is "has been" used in passive voice?

E.g., "The work has been completed."
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "has been" be used without a specified time frame?

Yes, "has been" often doesn’t specify when an action started.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "has been" denote an action's duration?

Yes, it implies an action began in the past and may still be ongoing.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "has been" start a sentence?

Yes, e.g., "Has been a long day."
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "is" and "has been" be used interchangeably?

No, they pertain to different tenses and cannot be swapped without changing sentence meaning.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Is "is" used with singular subjects?

Yes, "is" is used with singular subjects (he, she, it).
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "is" represent an ongoing action?

No, "is" indicates a state or action in the current moment.
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

Can "has been" be utilized in negative form?

Yes, e.g., "He has not been to Rome."
Tayyaba Rehman
Nov 26, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. 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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