What's the difference between these sentences:

"I had been bored"

"I had bored"

"I was bored"

in structure, tense and meaning? And which one is more common in daily English? Which one is correct when I want to say the movie was boring and I ...?

2 Answers 2


I was bored describes how you felt. Was is simple past, and bored is an adjective (though "was bored" could also be parsed as a passive, with "was bored" being the past form of the passive; either way, the meaning is the same). It can be used to discuss your past feelings: I was bored yesterday during the long lecture; I was bored by his constant moaning.

I had been bored is the past perfect (had been) plus the adjective (bored): I had been bored before I received the new book.

I had bored is the past perfect of the transitive verb to bore, as in: The professor then realised that he had bored the students almost to death.


"I had bored" is ungrammatical. To communicate that you were bored in the simple past, you would write "I was bored."

"I had been bored" is in the past perfect progressive tense, and it indicates a continuous action that occurred in the past. For example, writing "I had been bored throughout the entire movie last night" means you were bored throughout the entire movie which you watched last night.

"I was bored during the movie" differs from "I had been bored during the movie" in that, although both sentences are referring to the past, the second one is more explicit in conveying constant boredom.

  • what is the structure and tense of "I was bored" ?
    – Sam
    Aug 23, 2017 at 12:04
  • 7
    "I had bored" is grammatically sound if you're meaning to say "make a hole in something with a tool or by digging". E.g. "I had bored a hole in the ice so that I could catch fish."
    – Flater
    Aug 23, 2017 at 12:10
  • 1
    I had bored in almost an inch when my bit broke. I had bored John for 30 minutes before the bus arrived. These are valid sentences, but they do not convey the same meaning.
    – Davo
    Aug 23, 2017 at 12:10
  • 1
    @Davo: I had forgotten about the grammatical correctness even when referring to boredom itself. Good catch! :)
    – Flater
    Aug 23, 2017 at 12:11
  • I had bored a hole in that board. Trump's speech had bored the hell out of me.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 23, 2017 at 12:13

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