The Grammar GuideSpellingWhat is the difference between 'bee' and 'been'?

What is the difference between 'bee' and 'been'?

What is the difference between 'bee' and 'been'?

The words bee and been are often confused because they have a similar spelling. Do you know the difference?

Been means were when used as a verb.

Bee means *a contest, especially for spelling; see * when used as a noun.

Out of the two words, 'been' is the most common. It appears about 307 times more frequently than 'bee'.



### Is the correct phrase 'bee in her bonnet' or 'been in her bonnet'? The right phrase is 'bee in her bonnet'. These phrases are often confused because of their similar spelling.

Which is correct 'bee's knees' or 'been's knees'?

The right phrase is 'bee's knees'. These phrases are often confused because they have a similar spelling.

Is the expression 'worker bee' or 'worker been'?

The right phrase is 'worker bee'. These phrases are often confused because of their similar spelling.

Is the correct expression 'seems to have been' or 'seems to have bee'?

The correct expression is 'seems to have been'. These phrases are often confused because of their similar spelling.

Is the phrase ', who had been' or ', who had bee'?

The right phrase is ', who had been'. These phrases are often confused because they are easy to mistype.

What's the right phrase 'have been able to' or 'have bee able to'?

The correct expression is 'have been able to'. These phrases are often confused because they are easy to mistype.

Should I use 'appears to have been' or 'appears to have bee'?

The right phrase is 'appears to have been'. These phrases are often confused because they appear similar.

Is the right expression ', which had been' or ', which had bee'?

You should use ', which had been'. These phrases are often confused because of their similar spelling.

Some synonyms of bee are: hymenopteran, social gathering, hymenopter, social affair, hymenopterous insect.

Some synonyms of been are: used up, personified, survived, occupied, metal.

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The definitions in this article were adapted from Wiktionary.

Examples of bee in a sentence

A bee is hard-working and has the ability to sting—to cause pain.
- The Way of the Guilty: A Hope Street Church Mystery by Jennifer Stanley
Or play soccer with a thriving bee hive.
- Cold Midnight by Joyce Lamb
Short, I think he’s Chinese, major bee up his butt.
- Max: The Greatest Air and Sea Battle is about to Commence by James Patterson
Or had she taken it, like a pickpocket, when she brushed that unlikely bee off his shoulder?
- Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
Butt eet kan bee dun.
- Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Examples of been in a sentence

By the time he decided to act, he'd been too late.
- The heart of Devin MacKade by Nora Roberts
Rathbone had never been approached so boldly and so simply before.
- Weighed in the balance by Anne Perry
By starlight, there should have been nothing for the king’s templars to watch except each other.
- The Rise and Fall of a Dragonking by Lynn Abbey
From the very first he had been like a lump of inanimate meat.
- From Russia with love: a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming
She’d been in this business long enough not to jump to conclusions let alone panic.
- Secret Weapon Spouse by B. J. Daniels

Test yourself

Choose the missing word in each question.

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