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Example 1

A: oh you are smiling now. A moment ago, you were mad.

B: I have become happy already.

Example 2

A: oh you are smiling now. A moment ago, you were mad.

B: I have been happy already.

I have a feeling that only example 1 is correct because I feel Be-verb is a state not like "become" which can mean changing.

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  • Both B samples need something to make them smoother. Aug 28, 2023 at 3:21
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    Neither sentence is natural. A native speaker would say something like "That's because I'm happy now". "I have been happy" would imply "I have experienced happiness in the past". Aug 28, 2023 at 8:33
  • There's so much wrong with both choices. They aren't idiomatic - we'd probably say something like "I've cheered up". And the use of "already" as an intensifier sounds like you're trying to mimic a US English dialect, but it is really out of place. This question really falls under proof-reading, which is off-topic.
    – Astralbee
    Sep 17, 2023 at 15:38

3 Answers 3

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You are wondering if "become" happy or "been" happy is correct in this context.

A: Oh you are smiling now. A moment ago, you were mad.

1: I have become happy already.

2: I have been happy already.

You think that 1. is correct. I agree that this is more correct than 2. Something more natural might be:

I've become happy.

since "already" is implied, and so is redundant. This is correct English, and doesn't sound too weird, but it's probably not something someone would actually say. I might say:

Well, I'm happy now

which indicates that I have become happy. However, you will be correct if you wish to use a variation of #1: "I've become happy."

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It's hard to say which example is correct, because it depends on exactly what meaning is intended. For example, any English tense will be correct if it correctly describes the intended period of time. However, @KateBunting is right: Neither sentence is natural. I think this is because the sentences have different elements that clash with each other.

Part 1 - Tenses

I have become happy. This means that I was unhappy, but at a point in the past I changed to happy, and I remain happy through to now. (Compare the sentence "I became happy", which refers to the moment when I changed, but says nothing about whether I am still happy.)

I have been happy. This means that I was happy at one or more times in the past. It says nothing about my present state: today I could be happy or unhappy. In context, it may be contrasting my past happiness with my present unhappiness, but the tense itself doesn't require that.

Note that in these examples the word happy is not part of the verb. It's an adjective, and we could replace it with another adjective (tired, excited) without changing the focus of the tenses.

Note also that there are two different verbs in play: to be, and to become. These affect the interpretation of the tenses; we are not comparing two equal events.

Part 2 - Already

Merrian-Webster defines already as

  • prior to a specified or implied past, present, or future time : by this time.

It adds some examples:

  1. I'd already left by the time you called.
  2. He acted as if he didn't already know.
  3. Flight 102 will already have taken off by the time Flight 101 lands.

Already therefore has a comparative sense. It's pointing to a time before some other time. But in both of the example sentences, it's not clear what comparative time is referred to.

Take example 1. I have become happy already means that I have become happy before some point in time. What point in time? Before now? If that's what was meant, then already is redundant. The simple sentence "I have become happy" describes something happening before now. That's the point of the past tense.

From context the only other comparative time is "a moment ago you were angry." If that's the comparison, we end up with a sentence saying, "Before I was mad I was already happy", which is clearly wrong.

In my view, already confuses the whole issue. Personally I would delete it, and concentrate on choosing the verb tense which best describes what I wanted to say.

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I've become happy already.

The above is grammatical but not idiomatic at all, not how native speakers would say it. It would be natural to say in American English:

I'm happy again.

I'm already happy again.

I'm already smiling again.

again can mean "returned to a former state" or "acting as before".

The baby was screaming just a minute ago and now she's laughing again.

I have been does not fit the situation at all. It refers to a time in the past when you were happy, and "already" suggests you no longer need to be happy again. You can check it off the list as "done".

No thanks, I've been to that movie already.

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