"have been" or "have gone"

I often hear people use have been and have gone quite interchangeably. In fact, both are very differently used. Check this out and tell the difference:

  1. Daniel and Selina have been to London. – [They’ve visited there, so they know what it’s like.]
  2. Daniel and Selina have gone to London. – [They’re now there.]

In Example #1, the sentence shows that both Daniel and Selina know about London because they have already visited there. Therefore, they are able to tell you about life in London. In Example #2, the sentence shows that Daniel and Selina are now in London. They’re not here.

So, you cannot write sentences like these:

  1. I have gone to China before. (X)
  2. She has been to Genting Highlands for her honeymoon. (X)
  3. Andy: Where’s mom?
    Brian: Oh, she has been to the supermarket. (X)
  4. Susan: How do you know so much about America?
    Paul: Well, I’ve gone there before. (X)

Therefore, we can conclude that “have/has been” is used to indicate the experience of visiting and knowing a place, while “have/has gone” means that the person we’re talking about is there, not here.

By the way, have you been to Malacca? If not, you’re welcome 😛

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Posted on July 21, 2009, in Word Power and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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