In the following example:

Scott has been on holiday. He had a terrible time.

I always thought that "Scott has been on holiday" would mean "He is still on it". But past simple, in the next sentence, has confused me because this tense doesn't imply that the action occurs in the present.

So, in this example, is Scott still on holiday or he is not?

  • Are you sure it wasn't "Scott has been on holiday"? Or perhaps, "[Kourtney and] Scott have been on holiday"? The use of "have" suggests the plural. Commented May 22, 2022 at 9:14
  • 1
    Imagine a situation in which Scott's cousin arrives at Scott's house to find that Scott is in bed, and asks Scott's mother what has happened. She replies: Scott has been on holiday. He had a terrible time. He lost his passport and wallet and caught malaria. In such a situation, the use of the present perfect is perfectly legitimate. Scott's situation is the culmination of his holiday experience. If you say I have been to the library, it does not mean that you are still at the library. Similarly, if you have been on holiday, you are no longer on holiday. Commented May 22, 2022 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


Has been can be used in two different senses.

  1. Describing an ongoing action. I have been waiting for half an hour. Scott has been on holiday/vacation for a week.

  2. Describing an earlier visit somewhere. I've been to London to look at the Queen. Scott has been on holiday; he got back yesterday.

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