“Be Patient” vs. “Have Patience”: Knowing the Difference (2023)

Learning the similarities and differences between and among certain English expressions can make communication more effective.

Hence, it is a good thing that you are concerned with knowing how “be patient” is linguistically different and even the same as “have patience.”

Our post today particularly covers this topic to make the English language less ambiguous, and therefore more accessible, for many audiences.

Let’s start with two quick answers to the inquiry.

What is the meaning of “be patient”?

“Be patient” is a command whose meaning can be expanded to the statement “You need to display calmness or tolerance while waiting rather than being restless or frustrated.” It is the opposite of “be impatient” or “be restless,” which are counterintuitive pieces of advice in real-life scenarios.

What is the difference between “be patient” and “have patience”?

“Be patient” means “stay calm or tolerant” in dealing with tedious situations. While “have patience” is synonymous with “be patient,” it bears a relatively softer and more formal connotation than “be patient.” “Patient” can be both a noun and an adjective, but “patience” can only be a noun.

A detailed comparison between “be patient” and “have patience”

“Be Patient” vs. “Have Patience”: Knowing the Difference (1)

People online are concerned with the comparison of certain English expressions like “sale” vs. “sell” and “seek a job” vs. “look for a job” in addition to “be patient” and “have patience.”

This can be attributed to the rise and spread of English as a global language as well as to the accessibility of information because of technological advances.

Based on the view of language studies, the difference between “be patient” and “have patience” could be explained through syntax or word structure, semantics or word meanings, and context.

Syntax deals with how larger units of meaning are formed from words; semantics is concerned with word meanings; while context focuses on the conditions surrounding an event or idea.

Let us use these three disciplines in making the expressions “be patient” and “have patience” less ambiguous:

The structure of “be patient” and “have patience”

“Be” and “have” are both auxiliary verbs in English grammar. While “be” is often used to denote existence, “have” is used to represent possession.

“Patient” can either be an adjective or a noun. The noun “patient” refers to the person who requires medical attention, while the adjective “patient” is synonymous with “calm” and “tolerant.”

However, “patience” can only be a noun with two different meanings. “Patience” can either refer to the virtue of forbearance or to the card game also known as “solitaire.”

Without any context and other linguistic elements attached to “be patient” and “have patience,” both expressions are grammatically well-formed.

This means that we cannot just conveniently reverse the order of words because the resulting statements would become ungrammatical and unnatural.

That is to say, “be patience” and “have patient” are both grammatically incorrect if and when the purpose of the thought representation is to ask someone to remain calm or tolerant.


(Video) Shift Training Episode 8: Patience, Persistence, and Diligence.

(grammatical) You need to be patient while waiting for your turn.

(ungrammatical) You need to be patience while waiting for your turn.


(grammatical) You need to have patience to achieve success in life.

(ungrammatical) You need to have patient to achieve success in life.

The semantics of “be patient” and “have patience”

“Be” and “have” are tricky verbs in English. In terms of meaning, “be” is often used to denote existence or actuality, while “have” is used to represent possession or ownership.

“Be” in “be patient” means “to become” patient or tolerant rather than restless or frustrated, whereas “have” in “have patience” means “to possess” some amount of patience or tolerance.

So, is there any difference in meaning and implication between “be patient” and “have patience”? And would you be misinterpreted if you use one over the other?

Well, there isn’t any serious semantic difference between “be patient” and “have patience” that would cause misinterpretation to your target audience.

That said, you can freely tell your child, nephew, or niece to either “be patient” or “have patience” if and when he or she starts complaining about school.

Example 1:

Child: Mom, I really hate going to school.

Mother: Be patient, son. Education is important.

Example 2:

Child: Dad, I hate doing all these projects.

Father: Have patience, sweety. You need to do all these things to understand the importance of diligence in achieving success.

(Video) Be Understanding and Patient with Your Prospects

However, based on the examples above, we could say that “be patient” contains a more assertive tone than “have patience.”

In other words, “have patience” sounds more thoughtful, polite, and formal than “be patient.”

The context in which “be patient” and “have patience” is used

As “be patient” may sound more directive and assertive than “have patience,” you can use each of these expressions in different contexts to calibrate your target connotation.

If you wish to be more authoritative, such as when you are commanding a child to remain calm in public, you can use “be patient” to achieve your desired effect.


(child throws a fit because of being hungry)

Mother: Son, be patient. The food is coming.

But, if your purpose is to provide a piece of advice to a relatively close colleague who is starting to become restless over a task, you can use “have patience” instead.


(colleague repetitively groaning because of a technical issue)

You: Have patience, Pat. The internet issue will be fixed soon.

“Be Patient” vs. “Have Patience”: Knowing the Difference (3)

In a nutshell, “have patience” is simply more formal and tactful than “be patient” if we take context into consideration.

Tricky expressions related to “be patient” and “have patience”

In terms of actual language use, the expression “be patient” is more often used than “have patience,” at least based on online corpora; this makes the former expression less tricky than the latter.

“Patient” falls under two parts of speech, and “patience” sounds almost the same as the plural form of the noun “patient” which is “patients.”

Due to these reasons, as well as the inherently ambiguous quality of languages, confusion among related expressions is a common event.

(Video) The Only Payment Is Patience :: FruitFull (Part 9)

So, here are three of the most deceitful expressions related to the topic today that you should use with utmost attention:

Be patience

“Be patience” is something you have to avoid when you want to mean “stay calm,” especially in everyday conversations.

However, if you aim to be linguistically creative by personifying the word patience or using it figuratively, you may freely already use “be patience.”

Think of this personification process by adding a sixth character in the movie “Inside Out” on top of the protagonist’s five core emotions which are “Fear,” “Joy,” “Disgust,” “Anger,” and “Sadness.”

You have to take note, though, that the “be patience” structure and usage is only common in literary contexts; hence, usual conversations less likely entail this kind of language use.

Be patients

“Be Patient” vs. “Have Patience”: Knowing the Difference (5)

Using “be patients” is only grammatically correct when you are aiming to urge more than one sick person to seek medical attention.

Despite the grammatical acceptability, you would not easily encounter the usage of “be patients” in general conversations because it has a counterintuitive meaning and implication.

In the medical field, “BE patients” (i.e., “BE” is a form of abbreviation) can jargonically refer to “Barrett’s esophagus patients” or people with esophageal problems commonly due to acid reflux.

That said, using “be patients” when you mean “remain calm” or “learn to tolerate things.” is obviously completely wrong. Instead, you should use either “be patient” or “have patience” in this situation.

Have patients

“Have patients” is commonly used as a predicative element or a verb phrase in sentences with plural subjects like “they,” “we,” and “the doctors.”

For instance, you can say “The doctors have patients at the moment, so kindly call back later.”

The consonant “t” sound, particularly the second “t,” in the countable noun “patients” is commonly reduced or even deleted in actual speech, thereby making it sound similar to “patience.”

As this is the case, the confusion between using “have patients” and “have patience” in writing is understandable, especially for non-native English speakers.

“Patience” in American and British English

In the UK and other Scandinavian countries, “patience” is a term used to refer to the card game “solitaire”; the latter is mainly used in the USA and Canada.

“Patience” is a word of French origin, and this card game is basically a game that tests the player’s patience by painstakingly sorting all the cards.

If you have played “solitaire” or “patience” for the British people before, you would immediately understand why this card game is a great patience trainer.

In a nutshell, when someone tells you “Let’s have patience” in England, Poland, or Germany, and that person carrying a deck of cards, you should already know that that person is inviting you to play a game.

(Video) Abraham Hicks When You Are Impatient

However, in the USA and Canada, you have to expect that “Let’s have patience” is a polite suggestion to stay calm or tolerant.

Frequently Asked Questions on “Be patient” vs. “Have patience”

What does “please be patient” mean?

“Please be patient” is a polite request that simply means “please stay calm.” If someone tells a person to be patient, that would probably mean that the person is demonstrating some degree of annoyance or discomfort.

What is the meaning of “a patient person”?

A “patient” person is someone who regularly displays calmness or composure in dealing with challenging situations. In this structure, “patient” is used as an adjective to describe the personality or attitude of the subject.

What is a synonym for “be patient”?

“Stay calm” and “be tolerant” are close synonyms to “be patient.” These expressions can be used to request someone not to get easily frustrated.


“Be Patient” vs. “Have Patience”: Knowing the Difference (7)

Many English words can have several meanings and even similar pronunciations. This highlights the importance of language learning blogs like today’s topic.

To make communication clearer and prevent misinterpretations, it is highly recommended to learn the grammatical nuances between and among expressions.

Join us again for some interesting discussions next time!

“Be Patient” vs. “Have Patience”: Knowing the Difference (9)

Marcel Iseli

Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.


What is the difference between have patient and be patient? ›

“Be patient” and “have patience” essentially mean the same thing but are typically used in different situations. “Be patient” is considered a more informal way to tell someone to “have patience.” The noun patient refers to a person seeing a doctor, usually.

What is the difference between the word patient and patience? ›

Patience, meaning “calm perseverance,” is the noun form of the adjective patient, as in This job requires patience, and I am not a patient person. The word patient is also a noun referring to a person under medical care or treatment, and its plural form is patients, as in Dr. Lee is always friendly to her patients.

What is another way to say please be patient? ›

Other Ways to Say “Bear With Me”

Formal ways to say bear with me: Please be patient. Please hold on for a moment. Thank you for your patience while we correct the problem.

Why is it important to be patient and understanding? ›

8 benefits of patience

You can better focus on your long-term goals and dreams. You can make more rational, realistic decisions. You develop persistence and resilience. You have a better time learning new skills.

What is meant to be patient? ›

the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.

What is an example of being patient? ›

Examples of patience include waiting in line for your turn, exercising daily to achieve long-term results, waiting for retirement, and waiting for a pie to cool before eating it. Patience is the ability to wait for results that aren't going to come immediately.

What are the two meanings of patient? ›

A patient is a person who is receiving medical treatment from a doctor or hospital. A patient is also someone who is taken care of by a particular doctor.

How do you remember patience and patients? ›

Tip to Remember the Difference

A nice way to remember the difference between patients and patience is to remember the basic idea that patients with an “S” are people (plural) and patience with a “C” is a characteristic that people have that you can see. Patients are people, like clients.

What are the two types of patience? ›

What Is Patience? Patience is the ability to stay calm while you're waiting for an outcome that you need or want. According to research by psychologist Sarah Schnitker, it comes in three main varieties: interpersonal patience, life hardship patience, and daily hassles patience.

Is being patient a part of being polite? ›

Yes, I think patience is an indicator of politeness. A polite person would never chew someone out for keeping them waiting. If there's a good excuse for being late, a polite person would be willing to overlook such minor mistakes.

What is the opposite of being patient? ›


5 impatient, agitated.

How can I be patient when doing something? ›

7 tips for practicing patience
  1. Practice mindfulness. Be in the present moment, without judging. ...
  2. Practice accepting your current circumstances. ...
  3. Actively build a tolerance for being a bit uncomfortable. ...
  4. When you're feeling rushed, consciously slow down. ...
  5. Be playful. ...
  6. Let it feel broken. ...
  7. Practice being a good listener.
Jan 16, 2019

Why patience is the key to success? ›

Patience is the strength of will to navigate the obstacles and the challenges that may come your way as you go through the process. Patience is essential because there will be problems. There will be people who irritate you and situations that frustrate you. If you are patient, you stay focused on doing the work.

What are 3 qualities of patience? ›

Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a thoughtful outlook on life.

What is the power of being patient? ›

The Power of Patience calls on us to reclaim our time, our priorities, and our ability to respond to life with a firmly grounded sense of who we are. It is the best gift, we soon learn, that we can give ourselves.

How do you demonstrate being a patient? ›

How to have patience in life
  1. Reframe the issue. When you're in an irritating situation, try to think about why it bothers you. ...
  2. Practice mindfulness. ...
  3. Show gratitude. ...
  4. Practice acceptance. ...
  5. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. ...
  6. Slow down. ...
  7. Try to have fun. ...
  8. Improve your listening skills.
Aug 2, 2022

Is being patient a skill or quality? ›

Patience is a skill that can be learned and practiced, and it is a result of choosing to emphasize thinking over feeling. Here are some suggestions for developing the skill of patience (I am glad that you were patient enough to wait for them).

What are the benefits of being patient? ›

Research suggests that patient people tend to be more cooperative, more empathetic, more equitable, and more forgiving. 3. Patience helps us achieve our goals - In her 2012 study, Schnitker also examined whether patience helps students get things done.

What does it mean to be patient with others? ›

Having patience means being able to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity, so anywhere there is frustration or adversity—i.e., nearly everywhere—we have the opportunity to practice it.

How do you know if you have patience? ›

What does it mean to be patient?
  1. They'd prefer to wait for all of the information, help, or resources they need rather than forge ahead without.
  2. They're able to slow down and assess things at work without becoming antsy to move on.
  3. They often have a talent for slowing down and listening carefully.

How do you keep patience in difficult times? ›

Try these suggestions:
  1. Ask yourself how realistic your worry is. Our imaginations can take us into situations that may never develop.
  2. Set aside "worry" time each day. ...
  3. Focus on the good aspects of your life.
  4. Look at tough times as an opportunity to learn, grow or improve your situation.

How do you be patient when waiting for something? ›

4 Tips to Help You Be a More Patient Person, Science Says You Will be Happier
  1. Make Yourself Wait. The best way to practice patience is to make yourself wait. ...
  2. Stop Doing Things That Aren't Important. ...
  3. Be Mindful of the Things Making You Impatient. ...
  4. Relax and Take Deep Breaths.
Oct 24, 2017

How to be patient according to the Bible? ›

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

What are the principles of patience? ›

Patience, at its core, involves waiting – waiting for a temporary situation to pass, or waiting through a situation out of our control. A patient person realizes life is not all about them – their needs and desires. Having patience promotes compassion and empathy for other people.

Who is the perfect example of patience? ›

"Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected." (D&C 67:13.) "The Lord, Jesus Christ, is our perfect example of patience," said Elder Joseph B.

What are the four qualities of a polite person? ›

True politeness is about so much more than holding open doors.
  • They say “Please” and “Thank you” ...
  • They don't touch people without permission. ...
  • They can admit when they're wrong. ...
  • They don't ask overly personal questions. ...
  • They accept correction graciously. ...
  • They make others feel comfortable. ...
  • They don't interrupt.
Jun 25, 2020

Who behaves better when waiting? ›

Who behaves better when waiting, children or adults? Usually, adults behave better when waiting than children. Children often do not understand why they have to wait for something, whereas adults know why they are waiting.

When should we be patient? ›

Yet patience is essential to daily life—and might be key to a happy one. Having patience means being able to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity, so anywhere there is frustration or adversity—i.e., nearly everywhere—we have the opportunity to practice it.

What do you call a person who has no patience? ›

im·​pa·​tient (ˌ)im-ˈpā-shənt. Synonyms of impatient. : not patient : restless or short of temper especially under irritation, delay, or opposition. : intolerant sense 1. impatient of delay.

What do you call a selfish person? ›

egotistic, egotistical, narcissistic, self-loving. characteristic of those having an inflated idea of their own importance. self-seeking, self-serving. interested only in yourself. Antonyms: unselfish.

What do you call a person who has a lot of patience? ›

A person with great patience can be called "patient" or "tolerant."

How can I be patient and kind to myself? ›

10 top tips
  1. Talk kindly to yourself. Think about how you speak to the people you love and care about, and then turn that voice on yourself. ...
  2. Practise gratitude. ...
  3. Perform acts of kindness to others. ...
  4. Reflect daily. ...
  5. Self-care. ...
  6. Be responsible for yourself. ...
  7. Invest in your interests. ...
  8. Practise mindfulness.

Why do you have to be patient? ›

Patience Gives Us Time to Think Strategically

As everything runs its course and falls into place, we have a clearer and more strategic view. This gives us enough time to analyze the situation, think of possible next steps and solutions as well as their outcomes, and make the best possible decisions in our favor.

What are the two types of patients? ›

The first category is chronic patients who go and see their doctor every month or more. They have some sort of chronic disease which requires them to take part in the healthcare system on a regular basis. The second category is “healthy” patients.

What are the 3 types of patients? ›

even in the early stages of your practice.
  • In general, there are three types of patients.
  • Patient #1: “I Have a Problem”
  • Patient #2: Check-Ups and Routine Visits.
  • Patient #3: Patients Looking to Switch Practices.
  • Marketing That Targets All Three Target Markets.
Nov 18, 2015

How can I have patient? ›

We all know that patience is a virtue. But how can we have more of it in our lives? There are plenty of things that lead to impatience in our daily lives.
How to have patience in life
  1. Reframe the issue. ...
  2. Practice mindfulness. ...
  3. Show gratitude. ...
  4. Practice acceptance. ...
  5. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. ...
  6. Slow down. ...
  7. Try to have fun.
Aug 2, 2022

What makes someone a patient? ›

Having patience means being able to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity, so anywhere there is frustration or adversity—i.e., nearly everywhere—we have the opportunity to practice it.

What are 3 ways to identify a patient? ›

Patient identifier options include:

Assigned identification number (e.g., medical record number) Date of birth. Phone number. Social security number.

What are two ways to identify a patient? ›

The practice of engaging the patient in identifying themselves and using two patient identifiers (full name, date of birth and/or medical ID number) is essential in improving the reliability of the patient identification process.

What are the 5 different types of patient? ›

5 Types of Patients (and How They've Changed in the Last 15 Years...
  • The Independent Skeptic. One of the toughest to deal with, this type of patient is naturally skeptical about expert advice. ...
  • The Researcher. ...
  • The Passive Dependent. ...
  • “I'm flexible” ...
  • The Open-minded “Explorer”
Feb 5, 2013

What is a code 3 patient? ›

Code 3: A non-urgent routine case. These include cases such as a person with ongoing back pain but no recent injury.

What are the 4 P's of patient care? ›

The four Ps (predictive, preventive, personalized, participative) [3] (Box 21.1) represent the cornerstones of a model of clinical medicine, which offers concrete opportunities to modify the healthcare paradigm [4].

How do you be a good patient? ›

Most patients want physicians to greet them with a handshake and to introduce themselves using their first and last names. The first step in developing trusting relationships with patients is an appropriate introduction.


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