I'm a bit doubtful if when I want to say "I've been to England." in the past simple, I can say I was to England, or I have to change the preposition and say "I was in England" (which is the thing I always say). If one (past simple) gets the preposition 'in' and the other one (present perfect) gets the preposition 'to', what's the logic behaind that?

1 Answer 1


No real logic here. Just an idiom.

There is an idiom "I've been to X" which means the same as "I've gone to X", and the "to" is used for the same reason as it is used in "go to". But the idiom doesn't extend to other tenses of "be". So "I am to England" is generally incorrect. Dictionaries note that this sense of "be" is only used in perfective constructions, and is just one of those little restrictions on the use of a word in a particular sense.

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