Grammar Have Patience or Be Patient: Which One Should You Use? |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Have Patience or Be Patient: Which One Should You Use?

Patience is a virtue, but it can also be a grammatical snag. That’s because even though we know the importance of waiting for the best things in life, we might at times be unsure of how to express that practice.

Specifically, a writer might wonder when or whether to use the phrases have patience or be patient in particular contexts. Let’s discuss that further to determine how you might make your choice.

The Difference Between Patient and Patience

The word patient has two meanings. As a noun, it refers to someone who is being treated in a hospital or other medical setting. That’s not the usage we are concerned with right now, so we’ll put it aside.

Our focus is on patient as an adjective describing the ability to continue or persevere with something with quiet resolve in spite of delay, hardship, or frustration. Most of us have probably heard the advice to “be patient,” which encourages us to seek our goals or desires in a peaceful, steady way.

Examples

I have to be patient in finishing the book I started to write.

Jerry told his kids to be patient while waiting for their pizza delivery.

Patience, on the other hand, is a noun that represents the state or quality of being patient—i.e., a patient person has patience. If you say “have patience” to someone, you are expressing a thought similar to “be patient,” although in a subtly less direct way.

Examples

If you want to be in proper shape for the marathon, be patient with the progress of your training.

If you want to be in proper shape for the marathon, have patience with the progress of your training.

If you ever find yourself unsure of the difference between being patient and having patience, simply remember that patience is the virtue (thing), and patient indicates the owning of that virtue.

As you can see, the variations between the expressions are minor. Which one you apply will be determined by whether you wish to identify the quality (noun) or describe something as characterized by it (adjective).

Continue Refining Your Grammar with Us

Speaking of patience, developing strong grammar skills is something you can achieve when you have it. Simply set your goal to be an even better writer and communicator, and then keep visiting our website to explore the many different topics and details that go into precise and eloquent grammar.

We are always adding new articles, so check back often. You can also ask a question or leave a comment about the article on this page in the comments below!

If the article or the existing discussions do not address a thought or question you have on the subject, please use the "Comment" box at the bottom of this page.

Leave a Comment or Question:

Please ensure that your question or comment relates to the topic of the blog post. Unrelated comments may be deleted. If necessary, use the "Search" box on the right side of the page to find a post closely related to your question or comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *