1. I have a car that is made by Benz
  2. I have a car that was made by Benz
  3. I have a car that has been made by Benz

Which sounds natural? So confusing.

  • 1
    More natural than any of those three is to drop the auxiliary verb: I have a car made by Benz. Or, as some answers have said, simply: I have a Benz. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Mar 20 '19 at 18:28

All of these sentences are grammatically correct and can sound natural; the difference is in what is emphasized. In casual conversation, I'd probably be most likely to say sentence (2).

For (1), you emphasize that Benz currently makes cars like your car.

For (2), you emphasize that Benz made your car in the past. It is possible Benz still makes cars like yours, but it is also possible that Benz does not still make cars like yours.

Sentence (3) gives a similar feeling as (2), but it implies that it is more likely that Benz no longer makes cars like yours.

Edit: My commentary holds if we assume that Benz is a car-maker. As noted by ThomasPepperz, in actuality Benz is a model of car.

  • Wow your explanation is really clear to me! – yoonjin kim Mar 20 '19 at 1:52

The second one out of all sounds most natural. I would say "My car was made by Benz."

Your first one, "I have a car that is made by Benz" doesn't make much sense. You say something like "My car is being made by Benz", which means the car is in the process of being manufactured.

Your second one sounds correct. I have lived in the US for 8 years now. Your car got made and came out the factory and arrived at the dealer. Then, you bought it from the dealer. It was once made by someone.

"Has been" indicates an action is still going right now. If my coworker came to office this morning and saw me and asked me "What are you doing?", I can say "I have been working since last night on the task my boss told me to do."


The most natural-sounding answer of the three you listed is number one: "I have a car made by Benz." However, "Benz" is not a manufacturer of automobiles but a model produced by the manufacturer known as Mercedes.

Alternatively, try, "I have a Benz" or "My car is a Mercedes."


Because your car was made in the past, I would use your second sentence:

I have a car that was made by Benz.

However, most people would probably short that:

My car was made by Benz.

And they might even shorten in further:

My car is a Benz.

Notice how the verb changed in that last sentence! Because once a car is made by Benz, it will always be a Benz, no matter when it was made (although, in the U.S., we typically say Mercedes).

We might change our sentence to the past tense after we no longer own the car:

I had a car that was a Benz, but I sold it. Nowadays, I drive a Toyota.

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