Is it correct to say

Have you ever been to [some country]?

The present perfect already assumes the time period preceding the moment of asking the question, right? So the usage of "ever" seems to be redundant.

3 Answers 3


Present perfect doesn't dictate the extent of the time period - only that it occurred before "now", if one is not specified it can be assumed to be any point in the past but only if taking the sentence literally. Typically if no time period is specified then it would be contextual:

For an example someone asks their spouse:

"Have you been to the shop to buy milk?"

While in a literal sense any previous occasion of going to the shop to buy milk would mean the answer would be "yes" but it is much more likely to have a shorter, implied time period e.g. "Have you been to the shop to buy milk [today]?" or "Have you been to the shop to buy milk [since I reminded you that we had run out]?".

The use of "ever", explicitly defines the time period being asked about as all of the time before now.


The use of "ever" in that sentence is probably intended as an intensifier. If A has been talking about country X, and B wants to imply that what is being said is nonsense, B might ask A

Have you ever been to X?

However, "ever" may also be used in a more neutral sense to emphasize that the question is not restricted to the relatively recent past


"Have you ever" means have you had that experience in your life up to the present moment. You have had the experience, you have knowledge of it.

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