12

Being a teacher, she likes children.
AND
Having been a teacher, she likes children.

What is the difference between these two?

  • From an English learner perspective, this is an interesting question for several reasons, including (a) the use of being vs having been; (b) the use of present vs. perfect tenses; (c) the word be, which reflects a state of being; (d) the word be, used as a participle; (e) the use of be with like, and how one might be a reason for the other; (f) how being or having been doesn't imply the present tense in the main clause. Lastly, we can use the simple past tense too. For example: Having been a teacher, she knew how to deal with children. – Damkerng T. Jan 6 '14 at 10:20
18

Being a teacher, she likes children.

When I read this, I assume:

1) The woman is a teacher. She teaches for a living.
2) She likes children.
3) There is some relationship between her love of children and her profession. The exact nature of the causality is unclear – perhaps she got into teaching because she likes being around children, or perhaps she's grown to enjoy being around children because of her profession. Or maybe the writer assumes that all teachers like children. Regardless of the particulars, though, which are left unstated, the sentence seems to imply that the two facts are somehow linked.

Having been a teacher, she likes children.

This tells me:

1) The woman was a teacher. She used to teach for a living.
2) She likes children.
3) There is some relationship between her love of children and her former profession. Again, the exact nature of the causality is unclear – perhaps she likes children because they bring back memories of her time in the classroom. Nevertheless, this sentence also seems to imply that the two facts are somehow linked.

6

If you say:

Being a teacher, she likes children.

you imply that she is still a teacher. You wouldn't say it if she were retired or had changed jobs.

Having been a teacher, she likes children.

means she was once a teacher but she isn't any more.

Answer edited to take J.R.'s comment into account.

  • 1
    My mind is having trouble imagining the second sentence being said while she's still a teacher. I would assume she had once been a teacher, but that's no longer the case. – J.R. Jan 7 '14 at 11:23
  • @J.R. I entirely agree with you. In fact I was trying not to be too severe, but I could not find an example where it could be used. Thanks. I will revise my post accordingly. – Laure Jan 7 '14 at 11:26
  • -"He's a has-been, she's a rookie. I don't want them protecting my bomb run, sir. PENTECOST: You need to watch your tone, Mr. Hansen." Pacific Rim 2013. That was an example of the meaning of "having been". [has-been : countable noun, informal, disapproving: a person who in the past was famous, important, admired or good at something, but is no longer any of these] Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary – learner Jan 7 '14 at 12:25
2

The first one implies that she is a teacher NOW and that she like children.

The second ones implies that she WAS once a teacher and may still be if you included a duration of her teaching career for example: Having been a teacher for thirty years she likes children. But that aside the first one focuses on the present and the second one focuses on the past, on her having been a teacher at some point in the past.

In fact I think that the second sentence could be worded like this: Being a former( having been a) teacher she likes children.

0

Being a teacher, she likes children.

First sentence sounds like that because she is a teacher so she likes children as she remains most of the time among the children.

Having been a teacher, she likes children.

This sentence gives impression that she has been teacher for a long time and still she is a teacher and likes children. To give past impression we can write it as :-

"Having been a teacher earlier she liked children."

0

"Having been a teacher, she likes children" seems to indicate that her liking of children is dependent upon her career (now ended) as a teacher. As if should she had chosen another career, she would not like children.

"Having been a librarian, she dislikes children" Presumably had this person NOT become a librarian she might like children.

The first sentence simply means that since she is a teacher she like children.Which is to say that a teacher must like children. That is of course, not always true but it is what the sentence means.

0

Questions of causality are irrelevant to the initial question of the difference between "being" and "having been".

"Being a teacher" names a present state of the person described. "Having been a teacher" names a past state of the person described.

The choice between the two depends on whether the describer wishes to emphasize the presentness or the pastness of the named state, though neither presentness nor pastness necessarily excludes the other. One described as "having been a teacher" may still be a teacher in the present, and one described as "being a teacher" may yet have been a teacher in the past.


Further elucidating and hopefully not confusing, the complete sentence includes reference to two states - teacherhood and fondness for children - either of which may be placed in the past or the present. Again, the fact that the sentence contains an implicit "because", though relevant to understanding the logic of the sentence, has no determinative influence on its grammatical organization. That is wholly dependent on the perspective of the describer.

"Being a teacher, she likes children." - "Teacher" as a present state of the person described when that person is in the present of the describer.

"Having been a teacher, she likes children." - "Teacher" as a past state of the person described when that person is in the present of the describer.

"Being a teacher, she liked children." - "Teacher" as a present state of the person described when that person is in the past of the describer.

"Having been a teacher, she liked children." - "Teacher" as a past state of the person described when that person is in the past of the describer.

More generally, it is important to understand that, not only does the present have a past and a future, but each point in the past or the future - taken as present - also has a past and a future. So the important bit is to be clear on what point in time is "the present" for the sentence in question, after which the placement of other points in time - and thus the tenses to be used for them - also becomes clear.

-1

Yes I entirely revise this formal (having been) is right. I have ever seen lyrics recently this form but it's only in spoken english very natural. It means she is still a teacher and I think. It happened in the past and until now and it's not different from being a teacher.

-2

Firstly , "having been" is totally wrong, therefore to form the present perfect you can say , he/she has been a teacher.

Secondly, in the past perfect you can say , he/she had been a teacher. Take note that there are slight changes between "has" and "had" whereby "been" remains constantly as a participle of "be". That means "has" is a present core verb and "had" is a past core verb.

Thirdly, he/she is being a teacher, this is in the form of present progressive tense meaning right now and so on. This is accurate.

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