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When to Use “Be Patient” or “Have Patience”?

We can use “be patient” and “have patience” interchangeably in most cases.

Beth Taylor
Beth Taylor

Patient or patience

You may have heard that patience is a virtue, but you may have also been told to “be patient.” That leads us to ask ourselves, is it better to say “be patient” or “have patience”?

To be patient

“Patient” is an adjective used to describe someone who can wait without complaining or getting annoyed, despite delays or problems that may arise. As it is an adjective, it must be preceded by the verb “to be.”

I don’t mind waiting. I’m very patient.
Sam isn’t patient. He gets annoyed when things take too long.

This adjective mustn’t be confused with the noun “patient,” meaning a person receiving medical treatment.

Have patience

“Patience” is the noun form of “patient.” Having patience as a quality means that a person has the ability to wait calmly and deal with irritating situations without complaining or losing their temper. We can’t “be patience”; instead, it is used with the verb “to have.”

She works with children, so she has a lot of patience.
They don’t have much patience with each other these days.

The noun patience is pronounced similarly to patients, which is the plural form of the noun patient, meaning somebody in the hospital or receiving medical treatment.

To be patient with someone

To be patient with someone means that we allow them to take their time and not rush them.

“Some children require extra support, so it’s important to be patient with them and not get annoyed if they don’t understand.”

Being patient with me

“Joseph is my new Spanish teacher, I’m not a fast learner, but he’s patient with me.”

The opposite of patient/patience

To be impatient is the opposite of being patient and having patience. It means someone becomes irritable or complains due to a long wait or unforeseen circumstances.

Similarly, we can use the expression “to lose patience,” which means to become annoyed or angry with something or someone.

Patient vs. patience examples

I meditate daily, which has helped me be more patient.
I meditate daily, which has helped me have more patience.
Sarah doesn’t like teaching her grandma how to use her smartphone, she isn’t patient with her.
Sarah doesn’t like teaching her grandma how to use her smartphone, she doesn’t have any patience with her.
The singer forgot the words, but the audience was patient and let him start the song again.
The singer forgot the words, but the audience had patience and let him start the song again.
The young boy’s mother was patient with him as he tried to put his shoes on by himself.
The young boy’s mother had patience with him as he tried to put his shoes on by himself.
Be patient when you talk to him. Sometimes he struggles to get his words out.
Have patience when you talk to him. Sometimes he struggles to get his words out.
We all need to be more patient.
We all need to have more patience.

As you have seen, we can use “be patient” and “have patience” interchangeably in most cases. While one may occasionally sound more natural than the other, generally speaking, which one you use is a matter of personal preference.

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Beth Taylor

Hello! My name is Beth. I'm from France. I'm a French and English native speaker and I really like writing.


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Beth Taylor

Hello! My name is Beth. I'm from France. I'm a French and English native speaker and I really like writing.