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Edna's avatar

What is the difference among "have been", "having been", and "have been doing"? What is the difference between "have been doing" and "have been here"?

Asked by Edna (86points) July 11th, 2021
7 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

My logic for how I understand/define “having been” is to use ” have been” in a sentence first, like this: ”...you have been doing that for a while (or all this time)” and ”...you have been here for a while (or all this time). The mental pictures I have in my head when I think of “have been” in these two examples is: 1. a person goes to a desk at a library and studies everyday and then I meet the person and we talk. The person says I study at the library every day and only then can I reply: you have been doing that for a while (or all this time), 2. a person sits in front of the TV from morning to night and then I knock on the door and we talk. The person says I sit in front of the TV from morning to night and only then can I reply: you have been here all this time. I first need to recognize when I can use “have been”, then I can recognize how “having been” applies and I can use it in my thoughts or out loud, like this: “having been in the library doing something every day she goes to the library, this person has developed useful study habits” and “having been in front of the TV watching it from morning to night, this person has really gained weight.” I can’t understand/define “having been” without “have been” and to me “doing” and “here” are two examples of words that I can choose from to place after “having been” or “have been” when I speak and write.

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Answers

Yeahright's avatar

I am drafting a response to your questions, but also want to know why you are being so analytical of this sort of thing:

1. To be able to explain this to your mom?
2. To strengthen your English grammar knowledge for school?
3. To develop a strong English grammar base to use as a foundation for Spanish grammar?
4. Are you thinking of becoming an English/Spanish teacher?

The reason I ask is that as a native speaker of English, you are bound to use these structures in an organic matter in a normal conversation, that is, the right structure will come to you as needed without analyzing it.

However, if any of the above points apply, then you need to understand some basics about

1. Parts of speech
2. Sentence structure
3. Types of sentences
4. Verb form/tense

before you understand the intricacies of syntax and semantics. It is difficult to explain the differences of the verb forms you are wanting to understand without having some basic knowledge of the above.

Edna's avatar

@Yeahright To be able to explain this to my mom and to develop a strong English grammar base to use as a foundation for Spanish grammar.

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder if you use an active verb rather than to be (ser) if it would be easier to translate in your head, and your mom’s head. Honestly, it is difficult for me too when I try to translate the other way from English to Spanish.

For instance, replace you have been to the library every day and studied, say you have studied every day at the library. They both basically mean the same thing, but you are using the active verb.

I have worked at my job for 20 years, instead of I have been working at my job for 20 years.

Maybe it won’t help.

Let’s see what @Yeahright says. Her knowledge of the parts of speech in both languages is far great than mine.

Zaku's avatar

“Have been” is a verb phrase: I have been to Antigua.

“Having been” is a state of being: Without having been to Antigua even before, George had no idea where he was, or which way to go to get to the hospital there.

“Have been doing” is about the verb “to do”, not “to be”, and expresses having done something in the past over a period of time: I just learned that I have been doing my homework incorrectly all week long.

“Have been here” is about the condition of having (at least once) been in the speaker’s current location (referred to by “here”) in the past: I have been here before. It is sometimes used metaphorically rather than literally, to mean having been in a similar situation before.

Your examples in the question details all seem correct. You seem to have been feeling confused. Yet you seem to have been speaking correctly. ;-)

Yeahright's avatar

@JLeslie
The OP Q boils down to:
1. I can’t understand/define “having been” without “have been”
2. and to me “doing” and “here” are two examples of words that I can choose from to place after “having been” or “have been” when I speak and write.

The problem of the OP is with have been (present perfect) and the phrase having been (gerund+past participle) and what follows each phrase.

I wonder if you use an active verb rather than to be (ser) if it would be easier…

Yes, using be which is a linking verb is not the best verb to understand the different verb tenses and verb phrases. Been is a form of be; therefore, it does just that, links words, it does not refer to any specific action. An active verb gives you a more concrete understanding of the situation and subsequent following actions.

you have been to the library every day and studied, say you have studied every day at the library. They both basically mean the same thing, but you are using the active verb. I don’t see how this responds the Q.

I have worked at my job for 20 years, instead of I have been working at my job for 20 years.
Even though at first glance these two sentences mean the same, at closer inspection, the use of the present participle (working) in the second sentence is usually used by the speaker to place greater attention to the duration of the action and it is perceived by the listener that this action is continuous, nonstop, that is why this tense is called present perfect continuous as opposed to the first sentence which is in present perfect. Also, when sentences are isolated and out of context, it is even more difficult to see the difference than when they are in context, to the point where you cannot use them interchangeably anymore. This also does not respond the Q because you are using present perfect continuous.

Her knowledge of the parts of speech in both languages… It also has to do with syntax and semantics.

Yeahright's avatar

@Edna
Still working in a more detailed answer with sentence examples for each, but like I said before, you need to understand the basics of sentence structure and verb forms/tenses before you move onto understanding the specific implications of each.

But to briefly answer your Qs, lets first classify your verb phrases :

1. What is the difference among “have been”, “having been”, and “have been doing”?

have been present perfect
having been this is not a tense, it is a phrase formed by a gerund and a past participle
have been doing present perfect continuous

2. What is the difference between “have been doing” and “have been here”?

have been doing present perfect continuous this tense uses ing verbs and refers to actions or activities you were doing for a period of time.
have been here present perfect + a place

It is essential that you study the use of each of these tenses so that you have a more clear picture of the TIME of the action/situation in each tense as well as the time markers. There are verb tense charts that you need to study. Knowing the terminology is essential in any area of study.

JLeslie's avatar

^^For me knowing the Spanish equivalent would be most helpful, the translation, which you did give on a different Q. I know when to use these all in my native language. So, I keep thinking does the OP understand when to use them in Spanish.

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