Explain me please whan did the speaker mean saying:
Please explain to me what the speaker meant by saying:

I have been for drinks and chatted with my friends

Is it correct? In the beginning of the sentence he uses Present Perfect Continuous and in the end Past Simple? Could you please explain the grammar?

  • 1
    I think it just means the speaker went out somewhere to drink and chatting with friends while drinking.
    – CYC
    May 10, 2014 at 15:02
  • And what do you think about grammar? Is it correct?
    – user5369
    May 10, 2014 at 15:07
  • 3
    @user5369 Both of the verbs are in the present perfect: I [have been for drinks] and [(have) chatted] with my friends. May 10, 2014 at 15:36
  • 1
    @DamkerngT., Santi: That doesn't sound quite right to me. Well, it does, but I interpret it to mean "At some point in my life before this moment, I have gotten drinks and I have chatted with my friends (either as separate events or at the same time)." I have a feeling the intent is to say "I just did this recently", not to answer a "have you ever" question. But that's just my $0.02 :)
    – WendiKidd
    May 10, 2014 at 16:28
  • 1
    What @Wendikidd said. If I heard "I have been to London and seen the Queen" or "I have been to the cinema and sat in the back row" with no other context, my first inclination would be to understand this as a claim to have done these two things together, at least once, at some point in the past. Despite my general support for Santi's answer, I don't see any justification for saying such constructions are "ungrammatical", nor do I see OP's as being any different. It's perfectly "valid" English - but some versions sound "clumsy", and OP's probably doesn't mean what he intends anyway. May 10, 2014 at 17:58

3 Answers 3


The speaker saying that he has been for drinks explains the purpose of his going to a particular place= he went there for a drink. And while he was having his drink he chatted with his friends. Due to the use of present perfect it feels as though this has happened recently and also that these two actions may have taken place at different times, but said in the same sentence together they both appear to have happened one after another.


There's nothing wrong with this in its grammar, only in your analysis.

  1. There's no continuous construction. I have been is an idiomatic use of perfect be to mean “have gone [to/out], have visited”:

    I've been to New York several times this year.
    We've been out for dinner, and we're on our way to the theatre.

    This sense occurs only with perfect constructions; you cannot say

    I was to New York several times this year.
    We were for dinner.

  2. There's also no simple past. Chatted here is employed as a past participle, parallel with been and governed by the same subject, I, and the same auxiliary, have:

    I have been for drinks, and
         chatted with my friends.

    This would be clearer if the sentence contained expressions that marked the perfect more distinctly or ‘hinged’ away from the perfect:

    I’ve been for drinks, had my dinner, chatted with my friends, and now I'm ready for a good book and bed.

marks a usage as unacceptable


Grammatically correct? No, but it's something you're going to hear anyway.

  1. Why is it not correct? See parallel structure. The grammatical structure of "have been for drinks" and "chatted with my friends" should be the same, which is, it should be in the same tense.
  2. Why is often said? Because saying "I have been for drinks, and at that time (or "and while I'm drinking,"), I chatted with my friends" is very long. In speech, often what can be assumed will be. So the logical conclusion is that the two things happened at the same time, even though the shortened version isn't explicit in saying so.

Another way to say this, still short and also correct, would be:

I went for drinks and chatted with my friends.

If the "have been" is intended to imply "I just now did this thing in the very recent past," you could go with:

I just went for drinks and chatted with my friends.


I went for drinks and chatted with my friends just now.

  • 1
    @Wendikidd: Sorry if my copying of this answer made life complicated! Whatever - I'm going to backpedal slightly from my earlier "unqualified" support. Unless someone can convince me otherwise, I'm not prepared to accept that OP's example is "ungrammatical". I think it's just "clumsy" because the specific parallel structures (and the "deleted" elements therein) are rather unusual. "I have been for drinks and canapés with them" works fine because we're more attuned to expecting I have been [for] to be the deleted text that could have followed the word and. May 10, 2014 at 18:12
  • @FumbleFingers No worries, it all worked out :) Snailboat is making a good point in chat; it might be a problem with having two different types of "have"s. Her example: you can't say "I have a hundred dollars and been to the store." The "have" doesn't carry. It's not quite the same in the OP's example, but it definitely sounds "clumsy", as you say.
    – WendiKidd
    May 10, 2014 at 18:16
  • @Wendikidd: Yes, it's easy to construct examples like your $100 one where the "failure of parallelism" is so extreme no-one would accept it as grammatical. But I personally can't see any problem at all with my two examples, and I believe they're syntactically much closer to OP's (if not identical). I would be very surprised if anyone could show why they're different, and thus why exactly OP's version might be classified as "ungrammatical". May 10, 2014 at 18:26
  • It is parallel, with a perfectly ordinary ellipsis, I have governing both participles: I have been for drinks and [I have] chatted with my friends. May 11, 2014 at 15:00

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