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  1. I was there twice last year.
  2. I have been there twice in the last year.

marked as duplicate by James K, J.R. Aug 19 '17 at 1:04

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First the difference between "last year" and "in the last year". As I write this, it's August 18, 2017.

1) I was there twice last year.

This means you visited twice between Jan 1, 2016 and Dec 31, 2016 (i.e., you visited last year, meaning 2016).

2) I have been there twice in the last year.

This means you visited twice between Aug 17, 2016 and Aug 18, 2017 (you visited in the last year, meaning the 12 months ending today).

A second difference in your examples is between "I was there" and "I have been there". This is the difference between the simple past tense and the present perfect. Usually the simple past ("I was there...") is used to talk about specific occasions when something happened, while the present perfect is used when we're speaking more generally about different times something happened. However in this example even when using the past perfect, we narrow down the discussion by describing the exact number of times you went there, and a specific period of time when this happened, so there is very little difference in meaning between

I have been there twice in the last year.

and

I was there twice in the last year.

In other cases, one or the other tense might be preferred. For example

Q: Have you been to Berlin?

A: I was there for the film festival last year.

because this is a very specific occasion.

But,

A: I have been there for the film festival.

If you want to leave it uncertain which year you attended.

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