“I Was Told” Vs. “I Have Been Told” Vs. “I Am Told”

Marcus Froland

Are you confused about the differences between ‘I was told’, ‘I have been told’, and ‘I am told’?

Don’t worry – this article will break down each phrase, compare them, and help you understand when to use them.

Get ready to gain clarity on these three phrases so that you can communicate more accurately and effectively!

The Meaning of ‘I Was Told’

You were told something by someone else when they used the phrase, ‘I was told.’ This phrase is commonly used to refer to information that has been relayed from a source other than the speaker. It implies that the speaker did not have personal knowledge of the situation but is simply passing on what they were told.

When people use this phrase, it typically indicates that they believe what they are saying is true and reliable. The phrase can be modified slightly with phrases like ‘I have been told’ or ‘I am told,’ which both imply similar meanings. Using these phrases implies that multiple sources have conveyed the same message and adds more credibility to what is being said.

The Meaning of ‘I Have Been Told’

You’re likely familiar with the phrase ‘I have been told’, which expresses that someone has received information from another person or source. This phrase is used to indicate that the speaker knows something through a third-party report. It is a way of introducing an idea or opinion without taking ownership of it and can often be found in conversations, books, and articles.

The phrase implies that either something was communicated directly to the speaker, or it was indirectly shared with them by another person. In other words, ‘I have been told’ indicates that the speaker has heard something rather than experienced it firsthand.

The Meaning of ‘I Am Told’

Hearing the phrase ‘I am told’ indicates that someone is relaying information to you from another source. It is generally used when the speaker has heard something secondhand and wants to emphasize that they are not claiming it as their own opinion or fact.

This phrase can also be used to indicate a degree of uncertainty about the accuracy of the information being shared, showing respect for its source without committing fully to its veracity.

Here are four common uses of ‘I am told’:

  1. To pass on gossip or rumors
  2. To relate information from a reliable authority
  3. To caution against taking something as factual
  4. To provide further context for an assertion being made

Comparing ‘I Was Told’ and ‘I Have Been Told’

The phrase ‘I was told’ is used when the information being shared is in the past. It indicates that something happened at some point in the past and no longer applies. On the other hand, ‘I have been told’ implies that the information is still relevant. It uses the present perfect tense, which emphasizes recentness and ongoing relevance. This means that you may be sharing something that has been true for a while but is still applicable today.

Comparing ‘I Was Told’ and ‘I Am Told’

You’ll notice the difference between ‘I was told’ and ‘I am told’ lies in their tenses – one is in the past while the other is in the present. Both expressions refer to something someone else has said and can be used when relaying information.

The key distinction is that using ‘was’ implies an earlier occurrence, whereas ‘am’ indicates something that happened recently or a current situation.

Here are four ways these phrases differ:

  1. Use of verb tense

  2. Implied time frame

  3. Connotation of knowledge

  4. Perception of reliability


When it comes to understanding the differences between ‘I was told’, ‘I have been told’, and ‘I am told’, it’s important to remember that each phrase has its own distinct meaning.

‘I was told’ indicates something happened in the past.

‘I have been told’ implies a more ongoing experience.

Lastly, ‘I am told’ suggests something is currently happening or about to occur.

Knowing the differences between these phrases can help you express yourself more accurately and precisely.