I am study English now and all this present perfect/perfect progressive thing just blows my mind. Here's the situation:

"She's been in London for five days".

I can't understand from this sentence, is she in London now? Or does it mean that she's been in London sometime in her life (but only for five days)? How can I distinct those two meanings and how to say them properly? Is it about "been in/been to"?

Thank you for answering.

  • 1
    Present Perfect (She has been in London for five days) always refers to a past state / action (being in London). Usually with the strong implication of it continuing up until time of speaking, but not always. For example, She has been on holiday twice this year doesn't imply she's on holiday now. The Present Perfect form always implies a connection to present time of speaking, but in my second example all it amounts to is her holidays and my talking about them both happened this year. Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 12:18
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3 Answers 3


"She's been in London for five days".
I can't understand from this sentence, is she in London now?

It's ambiguous. You can't really know if she's still in London or not without further context. The verb tense, alone, doesn't determine this. All it relays definitively is that she has been in London for five days.

But speaking personally, if I heard only that sentence I would assume she had spent the last five days in London and was still there—even though I could be wrong.

However, those words don't necessitate either her current presence or absence from London. Nor do they specify how long ago she was in London—or even if those five days were from a single visit.

Here is a longer version of the sentence:

She's been in London, on and off, for the past five days.

Note how the added words change the interpretation.

  1. Without the on and off, I would assume that the time she'd spent in London had been continuous. But with the on and off it now becomes unclear exactly how much time she has spent there.

  2. With the addition of the past, it's no longer an uncertain time in the past, but an exact period of time in the past.

Different words will give different explicit meanings. Without those words, the situation is open to interpretation. (And because it's open to interpretation, different people will interpret it differently.) The only thing you can glean from the verb tense alone is that she has been in London (on one or more occasions) at some point in the past—and most likely for a total of five days.


Firstly I'm also a student so my opinion on your question might be not accurate.

About "in" and "to" they are the same. You can use both of them. It doesn't mean she is still staying there or not when you prefer to use "in" or "to". "She has been in London for five days" means she was there for five days and she is not in London right now. If you use it like " She has gone to London " it means she is still there and she has not come home yet.

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    You can use both in and to, but they don't mean the same thing in this context. Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 14:12

"She's been in London for five days" does indeed mean that she is still in London. "She has been" conveys something ongoing.

If she has visited or lived in London at various, multiple points, in the past, here are a couple of options:

She has stayed overnight in London a total of five times [in her whole life].

She has visited London five times. (In this case, we don't know if she's in London right now or not.)

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