1

What's the difference between past simple and present perfect in this sentence?

If the past simple couldn't be used with past actions which are related to now, which sentence is correct and why?

When have you been to France?

or

When did you go to France?

2

Present perfect stands for completed actions where the exact time of the action isn't important. Hence when you use it, this tense doesn't answer when exactly the event happened.

  1. Have you ever been to Paris?

    Yes, I've been there. (It doesn't imply when.)

Past simple stands for actions that happened in the past at a specific point.

  1. When did you go to France?

    I went to France three weeks ago. (It shows the point when this happened.)

1

'When have you been to France?' Implies that you already know that they have been there multiple times. It also sounds a bit clumsy.

'When did you go to France?' This is a safer bet.

  • 3
    "Implies that you already know that they have been there multiple times."......Or just the opposite. Imagine someone is being rebuffed for putting on airs of being French despite not having been: "Why are you lecturing me on French culture? Are you married to a Frenchman? When have you been to France? Who appointed you the expert?" – Adam Jun 8 '15 at 15:42

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