Being and Been

Present & past participles respectively of the verb be.

The title of one of the funniest, comedy shows ever on B.B.C. television was Are You Being Served? The title could easily have been Have You Been Served? Remember these titles as they provide clues in how to use being and been correctly.

There is a common thread running through the following sentences which have the word being.

  • Are you being served?
  • Is he being served at all?
  • Was she being served at the time?
  • Were they being served when the lights went out?
  • I am being served right now.
  • I was being served when I realised that I hadn’t any money.

Being is the present participle of the verb be. The participle must have a prop-up verb to support it. All the prop-ups that support being (are, is, was, were, & am) come from the be family.

Now, we’ll change the title of the show to Have You Been Served? and change Have to its relations Having, Has & Had.

  • Have you been served?
  • Having been well served by the staff of this hotel before, I now come here all the time.
  • Has he been served yet?
  • Had they been served before they took ill?

Been is the past participle of the verb be. Again, as a participle is only a part-time verb so to speak, it needs a support verb to make it complete. All the prop-ups that support been come from the have family.


I have been there many times, and I am being extremely sensitive with the recommendations in my report,” replied the inspector.

Take note that being can also be used with other verbs as in:

  • I like being here.
  • I liked being there.
  • I enjoy(ed) being on holiday.
  • I can’t remember being alone on the beach.

And finally, be careful with, After being left on my own… and, After having been left on my own


Think of the five vowels. All of them are present in the first three words of the TV programme, Are You Being…? (are & being go together).