What is the difference between these sentences:

  • The motor has started.

  • The motor has been started.

    • The Motor has been starting.

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


The question is about context and which of those sentences people would choose in particular circumstances.

Your first example:

The motor has started

tells us that the motor, which was not running, is now running. It gives us no indication of why. Someone may have started it (as in your 2nd example) or it may have kicked in unexpectedly. So if you were at supper when the motor was supposed to be off and you suddenly heard it start, that's what you might say. The motor has started; I wonder why?

Your second example:

The motor has been started

tells us that somebody (or some agency, possibly a computer programme) has started the motor. That's to say, it didn't start of its own accord.

Your third example:

The motor has been starting

is the kind of statement that you would make if the motor had been playing up. You might say:

The motor has been starting and cutting out again


The motor has been starting intermittently

It's something you might say when you want to draw attention to the (irregular) manner or timing of the motor starting on more than one occasion.

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