Is there any difference between the following sentences?

He has not been home for a week.

He has not gone home for a week.

Which sentence would best emphasize the fact that the subject has been at the office continuously without even going home (to sleep or wash or whatever).

2 Answers 2


This reminds me of one particularly intense semester I had at graduate school. Trying to get a design project completed, a lab partner and I spent three days straight at our campus.

At one point in time, the lab director (who liked to run a pretty "tight ship"), looked at our sundry items strewn messily across a table, and said with an annoyed and disgusted voice, "Gee, it looks like someone is living here!"

We were taking an exam at the time, but a friend overheard the remark, and came to our defense, answering, "Actually, sir, I think Greg and Jim haven't been home since Tuesday."

"Oh!" the director replied, "Well, if they are living here, then that's okay."

In any case, if I were describing that situation, I could say:

I had not been home since Tuesday.


I had not gone home since Tuesday.

and either of those would be equally appropriate or correct.

"Been home" implies arriving at my house; "gone home" implies leaving the lab to go home. In this context, these both imply the same thing – leave the lab to go home – so I can say it either way.

  • I think "been home" implies existing/being at home, not arriving. if you woke up in your bed and never went outside, then you've "been home" all day, but you haven't arrived at your house.
    – Axe
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 16:50
  • @ogicu8abruok - That's an interesting angle, too. You could probably write an answer on that if you wanted to elaborate a little bit more.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 18:00

Suppose that a person works in a place that doesn't allow him to return home every day (for example, the place is too far from his home to be convenient for him to return home every day). When he doesn't return home for a week, a co-worker of him would say "He has not gone home for a week." while a neighbor of him (or somebody who lives at his home) could say "He has not been home for a week."

"He has not gone home for a week." implies "He has not been home for a week."

Notice there is a difference between the following sentences:

He has gone home.
He has been home.

I would use the first one when he travelled to home and he is now at home, or he is on his way to home; I would use the second one when he went home, and he is now back.

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