I've read lots of threads about "I've been to London'.

And I know that what the sentence means. But nonetheless, I am curious about the semantic meaning.

I've understood the sentence like that 'been' means fundamentally very much simillar to 'existed', and 'to' means, unlike 'toward(s)', that the sum of the both meanings 'direction' and 'arrived'. Based on the above information, I think 'been to' means that 'I existed at where I arrived after leaving home'. Therefore if 'have' added, I suppose 'have been to' would mean that 'I have a situation that I existed at where I arrived after leaving home' by regarding the verb 'have' as a verb kind of having an object. In this way I can understand why the sentence 'I've been to London' has the meaning of experience. But is it also possible way, despite unusual, to think that as I am still at London? because I can have the situation at London where I arrived after leaving home until now.

And people say the sentence implies 'has gone' and 'has come back.' But I think it could be so only if a context is of experience. But if a context not of it, I think the 'have been to' couldn't imply 'has come back', but only 'has gone'.

2 Answers 2


In your example, "I have been to London" means exactly the same as "I was in London." It does imply that I am not in London now, or I would say "I am in London." But if I say "I have been to London before," that implies that I am in London now as I was at least once before.

This is an idiomatic use of the verb "be" that cannot simply be equated to "exist." It means "travel to." It may, but need not, imply "travel to but not permanently reside in."

  • Sorry, I cannot understand what you explain at all, though I can read what you said. Would you please explain easily?
    – GKK
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 4:18

Have/ has been to does imply the person has come back.

When you say I have been to London, it means you visited London in the past, it also implies it was your temporary visit and you are not in London at the time of speaking.

Refer to: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/been

When I say my daughter has gone to London, means she is now in London (has not come back yet)

I have been in London... implies I am still in London.

For the exact difference in the usage of has gone, has been to, and has been in refer to the following link:


I think this will do. Thanks!

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