In present perfect tense, "have been to" implies the fact that the subject has come back from the place we are referrering to, while "have gone to" indicates the subject's absence.

Assuming that I went to Location A in the past several days, and now I come back and run into a neighbour. He asks me, "Where have you been these days?"

I'm so confused with replying "I have gone to Location A" or "I've been to Location A". I tend to use "gone to" because I think "these days" emphasise the time that I wasn't around.

Any comment would be deeply appreciated!

  • It's fine. Let's just delete all these comments, shall we? :)
    – Lambie
    May 22, 2021 at 15:51
  • More than happy to comply. Hahaha(a reference to Agents of SHIELD :D) So have a good night. Or day? It's 0:00 at my place now :)
    – IAN
    May 22, 2021 at 16:00
  • 1
    Where have you been these days? is not idiomatic. The standard form is Where have you been lately? Where usually, the person asking isn't really interested in knowing exactly where you've been - he's primarily simply expressing the fact that he hasn't seen you lately (apparently, you haven't been here). May 22, 2021 at 16:52
  • Yeah, thanks for Lambie's help, I can differentiate these two now. And also thank you for correcting me with "these days", I don't have much opportunity to get myself exposed to native English context, so inevitably making myself sound unatual. >w<
    – IAN
    May 22, 2021 at 17:10
  • There are circumstances in which they can mean very different things, like saying, "I have gone to the bathroom in your pants," and saying, "I have been to the bathroom in your pants." The former may mean I've messed myself while wearing your pants (i.e., I've soiled your pants), whereas the second would mean I've visited the bathroom while wearing your pants. May 22, 2021 at 23:17

2 Answers 2

  • I've been there several times. [yes, one is not "there now", one has been present there]

  • I've gone there several times. [also, not "there now", but one has gone there]]

So what is the difference?

To go somewhere: implies a specific place To be somewhere: implies being present at a location

However, when asking these question:

  • Where have you been (recently)?
  • Where have you gone (recently)?

The first is about the person being absent, whereas the second could be asking about a specific location.

  • I've been busy or out or unavailable.
  • I've gone to London and Liverpool. [actually travelled there]

Use go for specific locations. Be cannot be used for the idea of traveling to a location.

  • I should be immensely obliged to you!
    – IAN
    May 22, 2021 at 15:28
  • May I ask a further question? Can I use “I’ve gone to ...” in a face to face communication?
    – IAN
    May 23, 2021 at 1:03

The present perfect tense for:

  • to be is 'have been'
  • to go is 'have gone'

In the case of 'have been' this indicates an action of 'not being there anymore', while 'have gone' indicates 'still being there'.

  • have gone does not indicate still being there at all. One speaker can say to another in the same room: Where have you gone this week? [for your job?] I've gone to London and Liverpool and I'm not planning on going anywhere this weekend.
    – Lambie
    May 22, 2021 at 15:20
  • @Lambie it is the present perfect tense we're talking about here. - "Where have you BEEN this week?" [Whether for a job or not] - "I've BEEN in London and Liverpool" in the second part of this sentence, there is a change of tense; it is about a FUTURE action
    – Astrid TAW
    May 23, 2021 at 2:40
  • @Lambie But your own example implies a future. All in all there is no common sense in your comments nor in your answer. Thanks for downvoting me; it means a lot to me. Have a good day!
    – Astrid TAW
    May 23, 2021 at 16:09
  • @Lambie, it is that I just saw a notification and that's why I should response to your comment. See YOUR own example; YOU did mention a future tense: "I'm not planning on going anywhere this weekend". Since we are talking about a present perfect tense here, it really doesn't make sense. Once again, have a nice day. I rest my case.
    – Astrid TAW
    May 23, 2021 at 16:50
  • response -> respond
    – Astrid TAW
    May 23, 2021 at 16:59

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