Is the following correct?

I went to see a friend to see how she's been but when I got there she wasn't in.

I think it should be "had been" because it is in the past. What do you think?

  • 4
    You wouldn't normally use Past Perfect (had been) unless you were very specifically wanting to check up on her circumstances / reaction to some potentially unsettling experience you knew she'd recently undergone (but which is definitely now in the past). Ditto Present Perfect (has been) except that one implies she's still undergoing the contextually relevant experience. Most people in most contexts would just say ...to see how she was anyway. The Perfect forms don't normally add any important information - they just look unnecessarily "wordy". Aug 29, 2019 at 18:20
  • Possible duplicate of Canonical Post #2: What is the perfect, and how should I use it? Aug 29, 2019 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


Since you are not only checking how she had been in the past, you are also checking how she is presently faring, it is ok to use has been.


It is correct to match the tense of the verbs, but had been refers to a time prior to when you were there. This would be correct only if the state of being that interested you (a) ended before you arrived or (b) started some time before you arrived and may or may not have continued until your arrival. Presumably, you went to see a friend to see how she "was" or "was doing" at the specific time of your visit.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .