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Could you please tell me whether this conversation is grammatically correct or not.

A : Where were you last week ? or Can I ask like this "Where have you been in the last week ?"

B : I went to Swiss on a holiday trip. I have just got home. or can I just answer like this "I have been to Swiss."

A : With whom did you go ?

B : I went with Harsh. I first planned to go with Harsh and Chris but as Chris has been to that place many times, he was not interested and didn't join with us.

A : What about your dad ? I can't see him anywhere. Where did he go ?

B : He has gone to Australia on business. He will reach home at weekend.

A : When did he go ?

B : He went yesterday.

I had some doubts on "have been", "have gone". I searched more about it and learned the difference. Now, I framed up this conversation using those words. If there are any mistakes, please let me know. Thank you!

  • You might want to split this post up into a few questions. That would let you ask about particular uses of "have been", "have gone", et cetera. – Jasper Nov 17 '15 at 13:49
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    Also, the Swiss live in the country of Switzerland. B "went to Switzerland", not "went to Swiss". – Jasper Nov 17 '15 at 13:51
  • You can't use "Where have you been in the last week ?", because last week is finished, while "have" (and the present perfect) refers to the present. – drM. Feb 16 '16 at 9:28
  • @drM - "Have" need not refer to the present. "Been" refers to the past, but "have you been" is quite acceptable. Where have you been? Have you been working out? What have you been doing lately? Etc. – nnnnnn May 16 '16 at 14:54
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The past tense and present perfect tense may seem similar, but they are very different. The past tense describes a specific event, e.g. "John ate an apple". It's like a story.

The present perfect tense on the other hand is not a description of a specific event. It is only an assertion that there exists an event fitting the details of that sentence, and the event completed before the present. "John has eaten an apple" means the event of "John eats an apple" occured at least once in John's lifetime.

If I were to draw a picture that directly represents "John ate an apple", I would draw a picture of a man eating an apple, an the "time within the drawing" would be in the past.

If I were to draw a picture that directly represents "John has eaten an apple", I would draw nothing, because the sentence is just an abstract fact like "Most people use cellphones".

Therefore, if someone asks you,

What did you do for the holidays

You should reply with a description of "what you did for the holidays". You can give a description by using the past tense. You could say:

I went to Switzerland

If you had replied "I have been/gone to Switzerland" it would feel very out of place -as if you were saying a random fact about yourself.

Keep in mind that I these are just my observations as an American English speaker. I've heard that British speakers use the present perfect tense to also describe specific events, but Im not sure.

  • I don't think "I've been to Switzerland" feels out of place in response to "What did you do for the holidays?" Sure, "I went..." feels a bit more natural, but "I've been..." feels fine too. I'm Australian, so I probably have more of an affinity with British English than with American English. 'If I were to draw a picture that directly represents "John has eaten an apple", I would draw nothing' - Or you could draw John with an apple core in the background. – nnnnnn May 16 '16 at 15:05
  • In American English it would be kinda bizzare. The thing is, we tend to use that tense only for semantic memories i. e. facts. YMMV if you grew up elsewhere. – Senjougahara Hitagi May 17 '16 at 4:46
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go has two participles: been and gone.
You use been when someone has gone and returned.

The fridge is full of food. Mum has been to the shops.

You use gone when someone has gone away and not returned.

Mark isn't here. He's gone to the shops.

  • "Gone" is a form of the verb "to go", but "been" is a form of the verb "to be". – Gary Botnovcan Nov 17 '15 at 16:53
  • Yes, also been is the past participle of be. – Alejandro Nov 17 '15 at 16:54
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Some thoughts/corrections:

A : Where were you last week ? or Can I ask like this "Where have you been in the last week ?"

The first option was better. Alternative: "Where have you been all week?"

B : I went to Swiss on a holiday trip. I have just got home. or can I just answer like this "I have been to Swiss."

I just returned from a holiday trip to Switzerland

A : With whom did you go ?

In America, more common to say Who did you go with?

B : He has gone to Australia on business. He will reach home at weekend.

...He will return this weekend.

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