What is the Difference Between “I Have Been” and “I Had Been”?

The difference between “I have been” and “I had been” is confusing to many who are learning English. In this video (found below) Gabby will give an explanation beyond the grammatical that will help make the difference clear.

The Example

Before I went to the USA, I knew about the store Victoria’s Secret:

  1. But I had never been there
  2. But I have never been there

I Had Been and I Had Never Been

Before I went to the USA, I knew about the store Victoria’s Secret but I had never been there. When you use “had been” or “had never been” it shows that something was continuing for a length of time in the past, but it is over now – it is in the past.

Some more examples:

I had been running up to an hour every day, but stopped once the Marathon was over.

I had been thinking about traveling, but that ended when my Father got sick.

Julia had never been to Mexico, but her partner surprised with a plane ticket.

Frank had been upset about the changes at work, but now he has grown used to them.

I Have Been and I Have Never Been

Before I went to the USA, I knew about the store Victoria’s Secret but I have never been there. When you use have been, or have never been, the action continues into the present.

Some more examples:

I have been to that coffee shop, I will meet you there at noon today.

I have never been to that coffee shop, I will meet you there at noon today.

Joe and I have been planning this party for months, I can’t wait for it to be over and done with. 

Both of us have never been snowboarding, but I am willing to try. 

 

Watch the video below to listen to Gabby explain the difference between “I have been” and “I had been”!

 

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