she is taken vs. she's been taken


She is taken.
She has been taken.

I know “taken” here implies that a girl is no longer available and she has a boyfriend.
But, I wonder what’s the difference between the two sentences?


“Taken” can be either the past participle of “to take”, or ad adjective, which means nearly the same, but not quite. The participle stays close to the verb, is connoted part of an action; the adjective is more of a state, the result of an action. Which one it is in a sentence must be determined based on context.

In “she is taken”, I take it as an adjective: she is simply not available at the moment.

In “she has been taken”, I take it as a participle that is part of the tense present perfect. The present perfect is used for things that happened in the past but are mentioned because they are relevant to the time of speaking. That includes things that happened at an unspecified time, and things that happened in the past but are still not finished. I interpret this sentence thus: she was taken by a boy some time ago, and this is still relevant to the present situation (because he has not let go of her).

As you see, there is not much difference between the sentences in this case. They mean nearly the same.

So I guess if we talking about her “status”, then, I think “she is taken” would be relevant and more appropriate?

Let me create another scenario:

The car park is taken by somebody.
The car park has been taken by somebody.

Do both work and mean the same? If not, why?

Thanks Cerberus.

Yes, “she is taken” would be more appropriate for most situations.

Car park => parking spot
Yes, both sentences would mean nearly the same and either one could be used in most situations. The present perfect lays more emphasis on the action taken by the person that took the parking spot, while the adjective presents it more as a given, a status, a situation. The present perfect is more likely to be accompanied by an agent, the person who took it. Consider these examples:

  1. I go to the shop, but the parking spot right in front of the shop is taken, so I park around the corner. I get a decent discount at the shop.

  2. I go home, but the parking spot where I always park my car has been taken by some BMW. I am so mad!

In both sentences, either phrase would have been correct; but it is a bit more likely that you would find “is taken” in 1 and “has been taken” in 2.

Hi Rickyrocky,

Let’s make this even easier.

(1) The door is closed = It isn’t open

(2) The door has been closed = Someone has closed the door.


Spot on ! Thanks to you all !