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I wish to express me being late to the office

i) I have never been this late to the office.

ii) I this is the most late I have been to the office.

iii) This is the latest I have been to the office.

The third sentence is incorrect. What is the correct way to phrase it?

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  • First is incorrect too, should be have been. Third is not incorrect, just means something different. i.e. refers to the last time you have been in the office.
    – Helmar
    Aug 19, 2016 at 7:25
  • i) the present perfect (with have) needs the past participle been, so I have never been this late to the office. *Latest is the best choice, so iii over ii.
    – deadrat
    Aug 19, 2016 at 7:26
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    @Helmar Do you think so? I'd say, "My latest visit to the office was ...." I don't think I'd refer to the last time with this.
    – deadrat
    Aug 19, 2016 at 7:31
  • @deadrat I agree it's ambivalent. Spoken in the office (iii) it may refer to the being late, spoken outside of the office it may refer to the last time.
    – Helmar
    Aug 19, 2016 at 7:45
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    To my ears, pairing 'latest' etc with 'have been to the office' doesn't sound immensely idiomatic. I'd say it's because 'been' is being forced to do two jobs, the usual copular sense (Have you ever been this late before?' and the 'Have you ever been to Italy?' sense. 'This is the latest I've ever been setting off for / going to / getting to / arriving at the office' sound better. There's probably a deleted 'in' after 'been' in these examples, so 'been setting off', for instance, isn't unitary. Aug 19, 2016 at 8:28

1 Answer 1

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If you use "I have been to the office", you are by definition being unspecific about exactly at what time you arrived there or until exactly what time you stayed there. The only time specification you can give with "I have been to the office" is a period or a frequency, e.g., "today", "twice this week", "more times than I can tell", etc.

If you want to say something about the precise time you arrived at or got to the office, you could say, "I've never arrived at/got to the office this late [before]" or "This is the latest I've ever arrived at/got to the office". So you wouldn't use "have been".

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