1

Accourding to this site,

We often use "been to" when we refer to completed visits to a place:

Have you ever been to Budapest?

Not: Have you ever gone to Budapest?

If the visit is not complete, we use "gone to".

Joan’s just gone to the shop. She’ll be back in about ten minutes. (Joan has not yet returned from the shop.)

Joan’s just been to the shop. She bought some cakes. Would you like one? (Joan has returned from the shop.)

Now, does that rule apply to the "Have been on a trip" & "Have gone on a trip"?

So, "I have been on a trip" (I completed the trip & currently I am staying at home)

"I have gone on a trip" (I haven't completed the trip & currently I am on the trip)

And what about "gone crazy" & "been crazy".

Does "He has gone crazy" mean now he is still crazy?

Does "He has been crazy" mean now he is not crazy any more?

Are there any differences between "Have been on a trip" vs "Have gone on a trip" and "Have been crazy" vs "Have gone crazy"?

Note: I am not asking about "been to" or "gone to". I am asking about "been on a trip" & "gone on a trip". Do we apply the same rule of "been to" or "gone to" to "been on a trip" & "gone on a trip"?

Note2: This exercise seems to prove that my thinking is right.

  • 1
    This is from Cambridge's "English grammar today" (see this) and it's a new one to me. It can only be the residue of some dusty Victorian usage "rule". In modern spoken English, we use been and gone interchangeably in such sentences. – P. E. Dant Jun 16 '17 at 3:30
1

First, that description of "been to" and "gone to" is mostly accurate. However, to "have gone to" a place can mean that you're no longer there, the same as if you "have been to" a place. (There are other subtle differences between these two expressions; see the previous edit to see them.)

It seems to me that the same logic doesn't quite apply for "have been on a trip"/"have gone on a trip". The latter two are mostly interchangeable, although there might be slightly different nuances about the "default" interpretation. I'll quickly go through some examples.


Both of the "on a trip" expressions can be used to mean you're still on that trip:

(1) I've been on a trip to Europe these past six months.
The speaker is still in Europe.

(2) I've gone on a trip to Europe and I won't be back till August.
The speaker is still in Europe.

And both of them can mean that you are not still on that trip (helped by including the word "ever"):

(3) Have you ever been on a trip to Europe?
The speaker is no longer in Europe.

(4) Have you ever gone on a trip to Europe?
The speaker is no longer in Europe.

So the two expressions pattern like "been to" and "gone to" except that "been to" would not work where "been on a trip to" works in sentence (1):

(1b) ✗? I've been to Europe these past six months.
If this works at all, it means the speaker went in the past six months and is no longer in Europe.


Since both meanings are possible, what's the default interpretation without context?

In British English, I'd say it's the same as "been to" and "gone to". In North American English, I would say it's the reverse. (This is based on my and my relatives' usage. I am AmE and my relatives BrE.)

(5) I've been on a trip to Europe.
BrE: The speaker is probably back. AmE: The speaker is probably still there.

(6) I've gone on a trip to Europe.
BrE: The speaker is probably still there. AmE: The speaker is probably back.

To generalize a bit, I imagine that both the above pattern and the account you cited in your question owe a lot to the fact that in British English, "to have been" is often used in the sense that NA English uses the simple past.

— "Was there anything in the mailbox?"
— "I've just been. There wasn't anything." (BrE)
— "I just went. There wasn't anything." (AmE)

Even two phrases that appear identical can mean two different things depending on the region.

"I've been swimming today."
usually means "I went swimming earlier today." (BrE)
usually means "I was swimming earlier today." (AmE)


P.S. Another minor difference between "been to"/"gone to" and "been on a trip"/"gone on a trip" is that the "been" in "been on a trip" can be conjugated in any tense:

✓ Next week I'll be on a trip to Europe.
✗ Next week I'll be to Europe.

✓ Right now I am on a trip to Europe.
✗ Right now I am to Europe.

  • "Have you ever been to Burning Man?" ... "Have you ever gone to Burning Msn?" ... Do you perceive these questions as different from each other? – P. E. Dant Jun 16 '17 at 3:41
  • No, but that isn't the only context in which those two expressions can occur. I was hoping to explain that their behaviour can diverge in certain circumstances, but maybe I should clarify that they're usually synonymous. – Luke Sawczak Jun 16 '17 at 3:45
  • Hi Luke, I am not asking about "been to" or "gone to". I am asking about "been on a trip" & "gone on a trip". Do we apply the same rule of "been to" & "gone to" to "been on a trip" & "gone on a trip"? – Tom Jun 16 '17 at 3:46
  • @Tom Oh, my mistake. Will edit. – Luke Sawczak Jun 16 '17 at 3:49
  • I hope you succeed in making it clear to Tom that this is not a "rule". – P. E. Dant Jun 16 '17 at 3:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.